T Nation

Exercise for lower traps

I’m having trouble with my rotator cuff and I’ve been having ART done. Today the doctor asked if I do anything to work my lower traps. What exercise options are there?

Have you tried incline shrugs? Great exercise. Set an incline bench at 45 degrees or less, turn around and lay on the bench face down, and perform dumbell shrugs. Let me know what you think. It is awesome.

The lower traps’ functions are scapular depression, scapular retraction (adduction), and upward rotation of the scapula. As you can probably tell, these movements occur in several exercises. In your case, however, I’m willing to bet that your scapular protractors are stronger than your retractors (most notably lower/mid trap and rhomboids). As such, I’d go with rowing exercises with increased emphasis on scapular retraction. In other words, really try to pull your shoulder blades together at the end of the concentric phase. Hope this helps.

I’ve got a number of exercises I use with my clients, but the explanation of them is prety intricate. I have actually been toying with the idea of writing an article for T-Mag on Scapular Stability Training.

Some of the exercises in Booming Biceps and Bone Crackin’ bench are designed towards lower trap development. In my opinion these aren’t the best choices though.

One you can try is stand with your back to a Gravitron, place your hands on the pad in a ‘palms in’ position and lock your elbows. Let the weight release your shoulder blades up to your ears and then press down with the lower traps.

The search engine at T-mag brought up this article which contains a lower trap exercise: www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/226exer.html

SUPER-HEAVY PARTIAL DEADLIFTS IN A RACK! The only place I ever feel it is in my mid-back & lower traps area! Put the bar on blocks or in a power rack & pull it from above your knees & START with a weight that’s ~100-150lbs more than your max lift from the floor & go up from there. Also make sure your shoulders are behind the bar like Dave Tate says. When I do that I feel like I got beaten with a bat right in the middle of my back or something. (+ I don’t think it would hurt your shoulder-I’ve popped mine 2x & it doesn’t bother me when I pull)