Effects of pulling direction on upper trapezius and rhomboid muscle activity

This study examined the activation of the rhomboid muscle according to the angle of the arm. The current study was conducted on 15 healthy males. The participants performed the pulling exercise in 5 conditions. The surface electromyography system was used to measure the muscle activities of the rhomboid and upper trapezius.

The activity of the upper trapezius in condition 5 was significantly increased compared to that in condition 4. The activity of the rhomboid in condition 4 was significantly increased compared to that in conditions 1 and 5. This study showed that performing a pulling exercise with the arms raised above the head (shoulder flexion at 120°) is more effective for reducing upper trapezius tension, while also selectively strengthening the rhomboid muscle.