The answer is your rhomboids, not your shoulders.
Your rhomboids are a small muscle group that are a key component to your posture and form in exercising.
Talking about form is not as much fun as learning new exercises, but the truth is, form is something we NEED to focus on. Just sitting here uploading these pictures of Laura, I am reminded to roll my shoulders back, pull in my abs, and sit up STRAIGHT!
Laura (Laura Crago to be exact), a SoulCycle instructor in LA, has impeccable form in her ride, arm exercises, and most importantly, just hanging out. So I’ve chosen to show off her super strong back as our model.
Form/posture – holding your body in a balanced, neutral position – is a very easy thing to do if you think about it. It’s when we add movement and weight that our body is challenged and our mind focuses on the resistance instead of how to hold steady against it. Using proper form you’ll grow stronger, faster, and reduce the risk of injury as you increase the intensity of your workouts.
Steps to setting up your form
- Stand with your feet hips’ distance apart with the weight balanced in the front and back of your feet.
- Let your arms hang loose.
- Round your shoulders forward and then pull them back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Now you’re firing her rhomboids! They’re challenging to access and not nearly as strong as your pectoral muscles and front delts that love to pull your shoulders forward.
- To engage your core, take a deep breath. As you exhale think about pushing the air out with your abs and pulling your naval in towards your spine. On your next breath, don’t let your abs release, keep them engaged. Your back should be even straighter now.
Now you’re ready! Not just to perform an exercise, but to walk out the door, sit at your desk, carry heavy groceries, you get the idea.
See the difference? On the left side, she’s hunched forward, on the right, her shoulders are back, and her abs are engaged for support.
Try it right now as you read this. FEEL THAT?!
Ground yourself in your form first and you will feel the difference in your exercises. Engaging all of those muscles at once will make the movements more challenging so you might even need to grab lighter weights.