Back Strength – The Intrinsic, Intermediate, and Oblique Muscles in the Back

When it comes to back strength, many people tend to ignore the smaller, more specialized muscles. These include the Intrinsic, Intermediate, and Oblique muscles. But if you have an interest in improving your back health, you must understand these muscles. Read on to learn about these and more. In addition to helping you build back strength, these muscles also aid in posture and mobility. You may even be surprised to learn that some of these muscles are actually responsible for your posture!


The back has many muscles, which are grouped into extrinsic and intrinsic groups. The extrinsic group is composed of superficial and intermediate muscle groups, while the intrinsic group is comprised of deep and superficial muscle layers. The intrinsic group is primarily involved in motions of the ribs, thoracic cage, and cervical spine. When these muscles work together, they produce extension of the neck. When they work separately, they produce lateral flexion and rotation of the head to one side.

The three deepest muscle groups are the multifidus cervicis, multifidus thoracis, and the levator scapula. The latter two originate from the transverse processes of the C7-T11 vertebrae. They insert between the tubercle and angle of corresponding ribs and stabilize the spine. Each of these groups has their own function in the back.


There are many layers of back muscles: superficial, intermediate, and deep. These muscles function differently and have specific roles in the back. For example, the rhomboids pull the scapula inward toward the spine while the upper and lower trapezius stabilize and extend the shoulder blade. Intermediate muscles also play an important role in breathing and support the back by attaching to the ribs. In addition to their functional roles in the back, these muscles also play a crucial role in maintaining good posture.

The deepest back muscles are called deep or intrinsic. They facilitate movement in the vertebral column. If pain in these muscles occurs, the cause is likely to be a strain, sprain, or a strained muscle. However, it is important to recognize the differences between the two types of muscle pain and determine the cause. In many cases, it is the former. While a strain or sprain in one muscle may indicate a deeper issue, it is important to determine if the pain is coming from a deep muscle or from the intermediate one.


The muscles in the back are an integral part of the human anatomy. They help stabilize the spine and allow us to bend, rotate, flex, and extend our bodies. There are three major groups of back muscles: the superficial, intermediate, and deep. These muscles help move and stabilize the back, and each one is responsible for specific movements. These muscles attach to the ribs, vertebrae, and shoulder blades. The upper, middle, and lower trapezius help raise the shoulder blades and stabilize the spine.

The most common group of muscles in the back is the trapezius muscle. It originates in the neck and runs across the shoulders to a “V” in the lower back. The serratus posterior superior and inferior are intermediate muscles that sit in the shoulder girdle between the shoulder blades. The intrinsic group of muscles lies under the skin and is made up of the erector spinae and transversospinalis. The transversospinalis and multifidus muscles provide support to the spine and help with breathing.

Quadratus lumborum

The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle is located in the lower back. It attaches to the lower ribs and spine and functions as a torso extensor. Its contraction causes the pelvis to be elevated, while its relaxation stabilizes the lower back near the pelvis. However, this muscle can become injured in a variety of ways, including a fall or strenuous activity. To prevent injuries, it is recommended that you practice yoga and stretch the muscles before physical activities.

The quadratus lumborum muscle is prone to knotting. If it becomes knotted, the pain can travel down the leg. It can also be injured by bending over or lifting a heavy object. Once the muscle is tense, it will recruit other muscles to help it heal. If this happens, the quadratus lumborum will need additional help from other muscles to support the back.

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