The 7 Best Lower Trap Exercises

This blog post contains 7 different ways to perform lower trap exercises.

Lower Trapezius Exercises can help with good posture, scapula stability and optimal shoulder mechanics.

Before you start the Exercises, you will need to learn how to engage the Lower Trapezius.

The Lower Trapezius is a muscle which is involved with scapular:

  • Retraction
  • Posterior Tilt
  • Upward Rotation

How To Activate The Lower Trap

Instructions: Follow the 4 steps below to engage the lower trapezius.

1. Upward Rotation:

upward rotation scapula

Reach and stretch out your hands as far to opposite sides as possible.

2. Retraction:

scapula retraction

Slightly bring your arms backwards.

Make sure you can feel a gentle contraction between your shoulder blades

3. Posterior Tilt: 

scapula posterior tilt

Turn your palms towards the back as far as you can so that your thumbs are pointing towards the back/floor.

4. Feel the contraction around the shoulders blades.

This is the lower trap contraction that you will need to replicate with all of the exercises below.


Lower Trap Exercises

Important Points To Consider:

  • Many of the Lower Trapezius exercises on this blog post will require you to place your shoulder in the over head position. If you have difficulty with this, you will need to address this issue first. (See post: Can’t Lift Arm Over Head? Try these Exercises.)
  • When performing the exercises, think about the shoulder blade moving on the rib cage at the end range shoulder position. (… as opposed to thinking about the movement of the arm)
  • Aim to FEEL the contraction in the Lower Trapezius muscle.
  • Avoid common compensations such as shrugging and arching the lower back when performing the exercises.
  • Do not use heavy resistance.

1. Supine

lower trap exercise supine

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Keep your knees bent and both feet on the floor.
  • Start with your arm by your side with thumb pointing upwards.
  • Lift your arm over your head.
  • Bring the thumb as close to the floor as possible.
  • Avoid arching your lower back.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

2. Leaning against Wall

Instructions:

  • Stand up with your back against a wall.
  • Point both thumbs up.
  • Lift both arms over your head.
  • Bring the thumbs as close to the wall as possible.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

3. 45 Degree Lean

lower trapezius strengthening

Instructions:

  • Lean your torso at approximately a 45 degrees angle.
  • Place one hand on something for balance.
  • Lift your other arm up with the thumb pointing upwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Progression: Hold onto light weights.

4. 4 Point Kneel

4 point kneel lower trap activation

Instructions:

  • Assume the 4 point kneel position.
  • Lift your arm as high as possible with thumb pointing upwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Progression: Hold onto light weights.

5. Hands on Wall

low trapezius activation

Instructions:

  • Stand in front of a wall.
  • Point both thumbs up.
  • Place both hands as high as you can on the wall.
  • Lean slightly forwards.
  • Lift your hands off the wall.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Perform 10-20 repetitions.

6. Overhead Resistance Band Pull

resistance band lower trap exercises

Instructions:

  • Loop a resistance band on a stationary object at a level slightly higher than head level.
  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto either ends of the resistance band.
  • Raise your arms above your head. Have your thumbs pointing behind you.
  • Move away from the anchor point to create a firm amount of tension in the resistance band.
  • Keep your arms straight throughout this exercise.
  • Pull the resistance band backwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression: Increase the resistance on the band.

7. Prone Position

prone lower trap exercise

Instructions:

  • Lie facing downwards on the floor.
  • Place arm in front of you.
  • Have thumb pointing upwards.
  • Lift arm upwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the lower trapezius muscle.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Perform 10-20 repetitions.
  • Progression: Hold onto light weights.

Although it is easier to engage the lower trapezius with the arm in the overhead position (as shown in the above exercises), you will also need to practice engaging the lower trapezius when the arms are in any position.

Try activating the lower trap in the following positions:

  • With arms by side
  • Whilst performing a Shoulder Press
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Plank Position

Conclusion

Lower Trapezius Exercises can help with posture, scapula stability and optimal shoulder mechanics.

It is important that you can feel the contraction of the lower trap muscle as you perform the exercises.

You don’t need to perform all of the exercises. The best exercise will be the one you can feel the most contraction in the lower trapezius.


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

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3. Start doing the exercises!


Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional before attempting any exercise. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

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