Rhomboid Muscles, a Tucked Pelvis and the Psoas

Rhomboid Muscles, a Tucked Pelvis and the Psoas Rhomboid Muscles, a Tucked Pelvis and the PsoasRhomboid Muscles, a Tucked Pelvis and the Psoas

The Rhomboid muscles connect the shoulder blade to the spine at the back. The psoas major connects the spine to the legs from the front. If your pelvis is properly aligned (untucked), the psoas works like a pulley system to help lengthen and extend the spine. The pulley system works because the psoas attaches at the back of the body and crosses the front of the pelvis creating the tension that helps to support the spine. The hip bone is the pulley and the psoas is the rope.

When the psoas works as a pulley the erector spinea muscles of the back body lengthen the spine upwards. If your pelvis is tucked under the bottom of the psoas moves forward and the tension that creates the pulley action disappears. What does this have to do with the rhomboid muscles you ask? Tuck your pelvis under and see for yourself. The ideal position of the shoulder blades finds them equidistant from the spine and parallel to each other at their upper border.

When the pelvis tucks under and the psoas can no longer assist the erector muscles of the spine to extend up, the shoulder blades are pulled apart and the rhomboid muscles are pulled wider apart than then they need to be. This is the environment that I find most people live in—rhomboid muscles that are too long and tend towards weakness. This is a direct result of the position of the pelvis and lack of pulley action in the psoas.

I find that many people are trying to figure out their posture by taking their shoulders backwards instead of realigning the pelvis. For me taking the shoulders back creates of false sense of good posture because it creates tone in the rhomboid muscles that can’t be sustained if the pelvis is misaligned.

The two things that need to happen are untucking the pelvis which allows the psoas to do its thing and creates a better more natural placement of the shoulder blades, and, building tone in the rhomboids through exercises. If these things happen no one will need to hold their shoulders and arms up and back because they will be naturally aligned.

Posture needs to develop from the placement of the pelvis not created from taking the arms and shoulders, and in turn the rhomboid muscles, where we think they should be. Posture should be the natural result of good skeletal alignment and balanced muscle tone. Not something we are actively creating by holding ourselves in place.

Me and my Forward Head
William Broad, Michaelle Edwards, and Me
  1. I have suffered for over Ten years with really bad Degenerative Disk Disease. I have had a Laminectomy L-5, and Cervical Fusion C 6-7. I am now dealing with the pain of a cocked back and twisted pelvis on my tight side. Its shortened my right leg by 3/8 inch. I’ve developed Stenosis on top of my Cervical fusion and Bone Spurs underneath it. I take pain Meds daily and can not find anyone that can help me. I hope I can find something reading your news letter that can give me new hope. It’s been hell for a long time.

    • Luciene, I suggest trying acupuncture. It is not going to reverse any of the structural changes, but it will relieve your pain, and allow you to have a better quality of life. You should plan on having treatments twice a week for 3-4 weeks. After that you should be able to go once a week, and the once a month depending on how long your pain remains at a low level. If you are in the a Houston area, please come see me at your school clinic. http://www.acaom.edu

  2. Great article. It all makes sense. Every part of the body is connected, and getting the pelvic posture correct is foundational to the rest of the spine upwards. Correct posture won’t start with the rhomboids. In light of this, how does someone with lordosis (excessive curvature of the lumbar spine) work on their pelvis alignment? I have lordosis and have for years been active as well as being in the fitness industry (swim instructor and group fitness instructor). My collective knowledge and experience has taught me many things, such as to always work on my core strength (such as engaging and strengthening my transverse abs), be aware of my posture at all times during activity, and to tuck my pelvis a little to bring it into a more neutral alignment to protect my lumbar vertebrae. Do you have advice on how can I do this while also taking care of my alignment in the thoracic vertebrae?

    • Not neccassarily. For one, I think it is important to state that lordosis is good if not excessive. Tucking and untucking the pelvis changes the degree of lordosis. One of the wierder things that I am on about is getting peoples legs correctly under the pelvis often creates a bigger (not in a good way) lordosis, that needs to be corrected through spinal extension and abdominal work. I’m not sure if I am being clear but the idea for me is that if your lordosis is excessive it has to be fixed or minimized from above the pelvis not below. My response to Christina was in response to her saying that she tucks her pelvis in general which I am never a fan of.

  3. Hi,
    I get pain in my rhomboid, also in my trapezius sometimes and then into my upper arm. I am convinced it is something I am doing when walking, and particularly when walking uphill, or up a stairs that triggers this pain – which can then stick around for a week or more. Is there a connection between the rhomboid and whatever muscles are supposed to be engaged to help your legs walk up hills or stairs? Am I making my upper back to all the work? My doc just puts it all down to myofasical pain (the area of my upper left quadrant – front and back is perpetually tight), but she doesn’t really understand why it is triggered by walking up hill. I do have a rounded shoulder, forward-head posture.

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