Today, it’s all about the back baby!
Welcome to another edition of Where It Works Wednesday, where I choose a muscle(s) and share how you can add variety with only using a few exercises, which work the chosen area.
Today is all about the rhomboids.
If you don’t know what the rhomboids are, you better get out under that rock you’re living under because rhomboids baby, make the back look incredible! But really, the rhomboids are the muscles in your mid to upper back. Below your traps, and above your lats, sits your rhomboids.
Although these are smaller muscles in your back, a little pop in these muscles is what really get’s the gym crowd staring. I don’t know about you, but I love a muscular back, especially in guys. I know some girls go for abs, or arms even, but I’m more about that back. Baby turn around! 😉
Most back exercises work several muscles at once, so going to focus on two key exercises which work the rhomboids.
To perform the following exercises, you would need:
+ resistance band ( if you’re in the gym, you can also use the cable machine )
+ stability ball ( can also be swapped for a bench if you’re in the gym )
Let’s start with a few variations of the reverse fly.
BENT OVER, SINGLE ARM, KETTLEBELL REVERSE FLY
+ hold a kettlebell in your right hand with your palm facing your body, stand with your feet together, knees bent and push your hips back
+ lean your upper body forward, keeping a flat back
+ position your left hand on your left knee
+ extend your right arm so the kettlebell is in front of your knee/shin
+ with a slight bend in your elbow, lift your arm out towards your side as high as you can ( until about shoulder height ) and slowly release
STANDING RESISTED REVERSE FLY
+ hold a resistance band handle in each hand, standing on the centre of the band
+ keep your palms facing each other and fully extend your arms, holding the handles in front of your hips
+ slightly lean forward, keeping your core engaged and back flat
+ keeping a slight bend in your elbow, open both arms together, pulling against resistance, lifting your elbows towards the ceiling
+ slowly release
DUMBBELL SEATED REVERSE FLY
+ begin seated on the stability ball ( or a bench works just fine! ) and hold a dumbbell in each hand
+ keep your feet together, just in front of the ball with a 90 degree bend in the knees
+ lean forward, keeping your core engaged and your back flat
+ extend your arms fully, bringing the dumbbells together to the outside of your shin, with your palms facing each other
+ with a slight bend in the elbow, lift the weight up, raising your elbows towards the ceiling
+ slowly release
The reverse fly is one of my favourite exercises EVER! Along with deadlifts of course, because those are my #1! All of these variations of the reverse fly are bent over, or slightly leaning forward. Leaning forward is a great way to really dig into the rhomboids, but you can still do the reverse fly standing.
You can use a dual cable machine. Set it up so the handles are about shoulder height, cross the cables and hold a handle in each hand. Step back from the machine about a foot or so, extend your arms straight out from your chest and fly away. I wish I could show you guys, but I don’t have the equipment available to take those pictures, ( story of my blogging life ) so instead I went with the standing resisted reverse fly to show you guys.
So now, let’s talk rows!
I’m sure you guys are well aware of rows, because, well, they ROCK! I really love the feeling of the rhomboids being attacked through rows! Seated, close grip, cable rows are my fave but there only a gym move!
Before I get into each exercise, I just want to point out that some of these rows ( minus the renegade, alternating and supported rows ) can be performed with a barbell. Also, if the exercise shows single arm, you could still use both arms, I’m just sharing variations which I don’t see people use too often.
Doing something as simple as changing your grip, or performing exercises on one side of the body at a time, is a great way to switch up your workouts and help better your results by avoiding a plateau. Don’t forget you can change-up your tempo too!
KNEELING, SINGLE ARM, BENT OVER, DUMBBELL ROW
+ kneel on the floor, just in front of a stability ball ( or a bench ) and place your left arm on the ball for support
+ hold a dumbbell in your right hand, with your palm facing your body
+ engage your core, keep your back flat, bend your elbow and squeeze your rhomboids to lift the weight up off the ground
+ slowly lower the weight back to the starting position
( If you were to use a barbell for this type of row, I’d suggest using a bench, leaning your very upper chest on the bench and pulling up towards your belly button. )
lushious TIP: Anytime you’re doing a row, always keep your elbow parallel along the side of your body. Know your elbow!!
REVERSE GRIP, DUMBBELL ROW
+ stand tall with your feet together, slightly lean forward keeping your core engaged and your back flat
+ hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms fully extended, palms in front of your hips/thighs facing away from your body ( reverse grip )
+ bend both elbows together, raising the dumbbells slowly towards your belly button
+ slowly lower the weight
KETTLEBELL RENEGADE ROW
+ using two kettlebells, get down on the floor into a high plank position holding a kettlebell in each hand
+ throughout the entire exercise, keep your core engaged and your back as flat as possible
+ working with one arm at a time, bend your elbow, lift the kettlebell up off the ground while squeezing your rhomboids
+ slowly release and immediately complete a rep on the opposite side
SINGLE ARM, ALTERNATING, KETTLEBELL ROW
+ begin standing with your feet together, holding a kettlebell in each hand
+ lean forward, engage your core and keep your back flat
+ extend your arms and allow the kettlebells to “hang” in front of your knees
+ working with one side at a time, bend your elbow to a 90 degree and pull the kettlebell up towards the ceiling, keeping your elbow along your side
+ slowly lower and then immediately complete a rep on the opposite side
SUPPORTED, SINGLE ARM, KETTLEBELL ROW
This is a really great exercise if you’re new to learning rows and need to work on keeping the back flat, OR if you’re lifting really heavy and need extra support! ( a bench also works great! )
+ support your hips/core on the stability ball, fully extend your legs and place your toes on the ground
+ place your left palm on the floor in front of the ball to help support your upper body
+ hold a kettlebell in your right hand, with your palm facing your body
+ bend your elbow, lifting the kettlebell high up towards the ceiling and slowly release
BENT OVER, SINGLE ARM, DUMBBELL ROW
+ place your left hand on the wall for support ( you can also lean onto a high bench ) and stand with your legs staggered ( if you’re working the right side, stand with the right foot back )
+ hold a dumbbell in your right hand, with your arm fully extended and your palm facing your body
+ from here, use those rhomboids and pull the weight up, bending your elbow to a 90°
+ slowly release
lushious TIP: For every exercise and every rep, you want to exhale on exertion. Not just for today’s workout, but for every workout. 🙂
Now that we’ve gone through all of these exercises, I bet you’re feeling motivated! I threw together a little rhomboid workout that I did in the gym on Monday.
Ready to get pumped!?!?
WANT MORE VARIETY? COME ON, WHO DOESN’T?!