The rhomboids and trapezius muscles make up the upper back. The trapezius muscles connect from the base of the skull to the spine and over the top of your shoulders. The rhomboids are located in the mid upper back and connect from the spinal column to the shoulders. Working to strengthen the upper back gives you strength and helps you look good in tank tops and other back-revealing shirts and dresses.
This exercise targets the trapezius muscles specifically. Begin by lying on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and your legs behind you. Put your palms together and lift your chest slightly off the ground, feeling the muscle tension in the upper back. If you are able, lift the legs off the ground as well, tightening the buttocks muscles. Maintain this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then release and lower your body to your starting position.
Stability Ball Pushup
By pushing against a stability ball, this exercise helps you to target the rhomboid and trapezius muscles. Start by placing your hands on either side of a stability ball while in a plank position. Your body should be straight and aligned from your legs to your shoulders. Slowly bend your arms at your elbows to lower your body toward the stability ball. You may have to contract your stomach muscles to maintain your balance. Straighten your arms to return to your starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
This exercise helps to target both your rhomboid and trapezius muscles. To perform, extend your arms behind you and bend your arms at your elbows, tucking your hands toward your chest. Pull your elbows back and toward each other to strengthen the muscles in the upper back. You should feel the rhomboid and trapezius muscles working as you do. Relax the shoulders by reaching the arms forward, then repeat the exercise 10 times. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for two additional sets.
The shrug exercise targets the trapezius muscles. Start by holding a barbell or two dumbbells in each hand with your palms facing toward your body and your hands slightly in front of you. Concentrate on the tops of your shoulders to lift the weights up and your shoulders toward your ears. Hold the top position for three to five seconds, then lower the weights back to your starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for two sets.