The rhomboid muscles, including the rhomboid major and rhomboid minor, are located under the traps, but they’re still a muscle you can’t neglect if you want to build a strong, well-defined back.
After all, strong rhomboids won’t only help your strength and pulling power; they’ll also improve your posture and assist you with a host of everyday functional movements.
So while the lats and traps are the back muscles most people notice (and focus on), the rhomboid muscles are just as important!
And it’s why we’ve gone ahead and listed the 7 best rhomboid exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.
The following exercises will build back muscle, increase your strength, and promote fat loss by helping you to burn calories!
1. Bent Over Rows
Bent over rows are one of the most popular back exercises.
They target the lats, traps, and rhomboid muscles, and can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell, resistance bands, or cables. As a result, they’re accessible for all levels of fitness!
Rows mimic the same movement as seated rows done on a rowing machine, except with static legs.
Bent over single-arm rows are just as common, which are performed with one hand resting on a gym bench. These are also great for beginners, as they can help improve form.
How To Do A Bent Over Row
- Stand with your feet close together and bend over at a 45-degree angle
- Holding the weight with an overhead grip, pull the weight into your stomach with tucked arms, making sure to bring your elbows back
- Lower the weight to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to bring your elbows back as far as possible to achieve a greater squeeze of the back muscles.
This contraction will engage the back muscles effectively, resulting in more strength and more muscle gain.
2. Reverse Dumbbell Fly
Reverse dumbbell flys are similar to bent over rows in that they provide a great contraction of the back muscles, including the rhomboids.
The main difference, however, is that the arms are kept mostly straight, increasing the resistance and difficulty of the exercise.
Reverse dumbbell flys can be done standing in a bent over position, or lying down with your stomach on a gym bench – or even the floor! The exercise can also be done with cables as well as resistance bands.
How To Do A Reverse Dumbbell Fly
- Place your feet together, bend your knees, and bend over slightly, arching your lower back
- Bend your elbows slightly, then raise both arms to the side to contract and squeeze your back muscles
- Lower the dumbbells, keeping your arms straight, to complete one rep
For best form, keep your knees bent and your back arched throughout the exercise.
Make sure to bend your elbows slightly (imagine you are pouring a bottle of water as you raise the dumbbells) to avoid shoulder injury.
3. Inverted Rows
There are many variations of rows, and inverted rows are another exercise worth having in your arsenal!
They’re called inverted rows as your body is inverted, requiring you to pull your weight upwards. As a result, inverted rows are a pulling exercise that effectively hits all the major back muscles.
Since body weight is usually heavier than dumbbells or a weighted barbell, inverted rows can be a harder exercise for beginners.
Despite that, the difficulty can be decreased by bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the floor, instead of extending your legs.
How To Do An Inverted Row
- Position yourself under a straight bar, cable handles, or gymnastic rings
- Extend your legs out, locking your heels into the floor
- With tucked elbows, pull yourself upwards, making sure to squeeze your back muscles at the top of the rep
- Lower yourself back down to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to keep a straight body line from your shoulders to your toes. Aim to pull the bar or cable attachment to your chestline to get a greater contraction of the rhomboid muscles.
4. T-Bar Rows
Here’s another (and final) row worth mentioning: the T-bar row.
T-bar rows use the same stance and movement as bent over rows, except that they use a bar placed between the legs, with weights placed on one side only.
T-bar rows can be done using a barbell or T-bar machine. Since the bar is picked up with two hands close together, it’s possible to lift a heavier weight than bent over dumbbell rows.
IT’s still a beginner-friendly exercise, however, as the weight load can be adjusted to any level.
How To Do A T Bar Row
- Stand over the weight with your legs placed either side of the bar
- Get into a half-squat position with your knees bent and lower back arched slightly
- Grip the bar and pull the weight into your stomach, making sure to bring your elbows back
- Lower the weight to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to maintain bent knees and a slightly arched back throughout the exercise. You should also aim to control the movement, instead of using momentum to pull the weight up.
5. Face Pulls
Face pulls get their name from how the movement of the exercise involves pulling a cable attachment in line with the face, bringing the elbows back to engage the lats, traps, and rhomboids.
It’s a highly effective exercise, so it’s definitely worth including in your routine.
Face pulls are performed with a cable attachment that can be pulled apart with the hands, such as a rope attachment.
The exercise can also be performed with two cables that are crossed over one another.
How To Do A Face Pull
- Set up a rope cable attachment that’s positioned level with your face
- With your feet together and back straight, pull the attachment apart either side of your face
- Bring your elbows back as far as possible to fully engage the back muscles
- Straighten your arms to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to engage your core to keep your body stable throughout the exercise.
Bring your elbows back and squeeze your back muscles to maximize the effectiveness of each rep.
6. Lat Pulldown
The lat pulldown is a popular back exercise that replicates the movement of a regular pull up.
The difference is that the lower body is kept stationary, with the resistance generated from the weight set on the lat pulldown machine.
Lat pulldowns are beginner-friendly, since the weight can be adjusted to suit all strengths. They are much easier than pull ups, since they require less strength and technique to perform.
Despite that, they’re an exercise that can also help you to achieve your first pull up, as well as improve your pull up strength.
How To Do A Lat Pull Down
- Sit on the bench and lock in your thighs underneath the cushioned pads
- Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Pull the bar to your chest and bring your elbows back
- Straighten your arms to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to pull your shoulders back and push your chest out, as this puts more emphasis on working the back muscles.
7. Pull Ups
Last but not least: pull ups – often considered the best back exercise, since pull ups target all the major back muscles, while activating your core and biceps at the same time.
Pull ups require strength and technique, but can be done with reduced difficulty for beginners.
If you’re new to pull ups, you can perform pull ups on an assisted pull up machine (using a high weight setting) or with a resistance band looped around the bar with your feet inside the band.
How To Do A Pull Up
- Position yourself underneath the bar and grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width
- Bring your feet together
- Tighten your core, then pull the bar to your chest, bringing your elbows back to fully engage the back muscles
- Lower yourself into a dead hang to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to keep your shoulders depressed and retracted, with your chest pushed out. This engages the back muscles more, helping to build more strength and back muscle.
And that wraps up our list of the 7 best rhomboid exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.
The above exercises will improve your overall pulling strength, build back muscle, and help you to shed fat by burning calories.
Include these exercises in your pull day workout and make sure to always practice good form to increase the effectiveness of the exercise and avoid injury.
Get adequate rest between each pull day and increase your protein intake to see faster gains!