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Rhomboideus minor and major



Rhomboideus - posterior view
Rhomboideus - posterolateral view
Rhomboideus - posterior symmetry

General information

  • This section is strictly limited to anatomy, you might be looking for clinical relevant information which is found under the clinical chapters -- muscles section, click here to go to that page


  • Deep compared to trapezius
  • Superficial compared to splenius capitis and cervicis, serratus posterior superior and erector spina group


  • Rhomboideus minor
    • Processus spinosi C7-Th1
  • Rhomboideus major
    • Processus spinosi Th2-Th5


  • Margo mediale scapulae
    • From the root of spina scapula and down towards the angulus inferior

Main function

  • Scapula
    • Retraction
    • Elevation

Secondary function

  • Scapula
    • Downward rotation
  • Trunk
    • Contralateral rotation (when the scapula is fixated)

Nerve innervation

  • Segmentalt
    • C4-C5
  • Peripheral
    • Dorsal scapular nerve

Arterial supply

  • Dorsal scapular artery


  • Patient position
    • Prone
  • Ask the patient to put their hand on their back
  • Palpate the area between the scapula and the spine
  • Ask the patient to lift the hand away from the back while you feel for contraction of the muscle

Muscle length test

  • Patient position
    • Supine
  • Note that this test is also testing teres major and latissimus dorsi
  • The patient is resting with the arms along side of the body and hips in flexion so that the soles of the feet are in contact with the bench
  • The patient lifts both arms over the head. The upper arms are held so that they are close to the head
  • Make sure that the lower part of the back is in contact with the bench so that the lower back is not curved
  • Normal length is achieved if the patient is able to hold the arms in line with the bench (in extension) while the arms are held close to the head

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Prone
  • Note, this also tests the teres major
  • Ask the patient to hold the elbow in full flexion while the upper arm is held along the side of the body
  • Place the upper arm so that the shoulder is laterally rotated and extended
  • Place a hand on the medial surface of the elbow and the other hand on the cranial part of acromion
  • Give resistance towarsd abduction in the elbow and depression of the shoulder girdle, so that the patient is giving force towards adduction and elevation