How can I strengthen my lower traps (trapezius muscle)?

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Your lower trapezius muscle is a muscle that helps to control your shoulder blade.  More specifically it helps to pull your shoulder blade down and in towards your spine.  It also works when you raise your arm above your head to control the speed of movement of the shoulder blade (scapula) to maintain shoulder stability.

Here are 2 exercises that you can use to strengthen your lower trapezius:
1. Stability ball scaption (lay on your stomach on a stability ball, take light dumbbells and with your thumbs up, lift your arms at a 45 degree angle "v" position.  Lower slowly and repeat)
2. Stability ball cobra (laying on your stomach on a stability ball start with light dumbbells in front of you and then bring your arms up and back towards your sides and spine until the dumbbells are even with your hips....slowly lower and repeat)

Exercise tips:
1. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions
2. Go slow and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades down and back
To strengthen the lower traps (trapezius muscle), perform the ball combo 1 exercise.  Not only is this a great lower trapezius exercise, but it also targets the biceps, triceps, middle trapezius, deltoids, and core.  To do the ball combo 1, lie on your stomach on top of a stability ball with your legs extended and toes on the floor. Before beginning, place a light dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms in front of your body, contract your glutes, and lift your chest off the ball, being careful not to arch your back or jut your head forward.  First, lift your arms in front of your body at a 45-degree angle with your thumbs pointed up.  Hold this position.  Next, move your arms straight out to the side keeping your thumbs up, forming a “T” with your body and arms. Hold this position. Last, finish the sequence by moving your arms to the sides of your body with your thumbs up and palms facing out while squeezing the shoulder blades together.  Hold the last position and then return to the starting position by circling your arms down in front of the stability ball.  The sequence just described makes up one repetition; repeat this sequence for the desired number of repetitions.  If a stability ball is unavailable, this can also be performed on an incline bench.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.