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Lower Traps - Does It Affect Me?


Hey all, after reading Top priorty for lower traps i am confident i have found the roots of my shoulder problems. I tried to reply there but unfortunately the topic had been closed so i thought id make one if that's allowed.

Ok well, here's the symptoms of the pain i seem to experience from my shoulders in general;
Running - Clavicle/Collar bone aches + pains
Skipping/Jump rope - shoulder aches - can't go past more than a few minutes without pain.
Overhead pressing with a barbell - Seems the grip to overhead press with the barbell causes pain in my shoulders and feels joint/boney type of pain.
Dips - pain in my shoulder blades.
Day to day activities - using a hammer, my shoulders will ache and give in within a few hits.

So it seems it is a BIG problem, i have done hours apon hours of research and i now hope i have found the culprit, could all of the above symptoms be related to having weak lower traps?

You see, i do balanced work, i do bent over barbell rows, deadlifts, pull ups, but it seems the middle upper part of my back which as far as i know is my traps area, is pretty flat and underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of my back, it isn't major, but you can tell the difference.

Now, to improve my shoulder health, i guess i have to work with retract and depression of the scapula, if my symptoms are related to weak low traps, right?

Ive been doing the wall slides today, they aren't easy, but it hasn't been much of a struggle to achieve 3x10 reps. I was thinking of lat pulldown isometric holds, i have an attachment for a bench i never use, so i could put it to good use.

The thing is, how importance is the activation of the lower traps, i say this because without the wall slides, etc, is this what's causing my shoulder pain? My rows and all are fine, and i would of thought they'd of sorted and taken care of this problem, but i guess not, what am i missing here?




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Thanks for the suggestions Bushidobadboy, however, i am foam rolling, should of probably mentioned that. It seems my muscle 2 mind connection between the low and mid traps is lagging.


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I seem to struggle at retraction and depression of the scapula, to what im aware it can affect shoulder health, and was kinda hoping it's what's causing my problems so that i can work on fixing it and building some lower and middle portions of the traps.


Your lower traps are essential for upward rotation of the scapula and depression of the scapula. If they were a problem you'd have a hard time abducting or flexing your arm to 180 degrees. Are these movements restricted or more difficult? Pull ups ideally work the lower traps but a lot of people most likely compensate by using other muscles to depress the scapula and to elevate the body over the bar.

A good exercise for the traps is to lay prone on a slight incline bench with a light pair of dumbbells (5-10 lbs) and raise them to parallel with the body at about 10 and 2 O'clock.


Id say they're more difficult, when pushing my arms overhead they don't feel as mobile as they possibly should, i guess this is a result of not using the exercises effectively enough - retracting and depressing the scapula. My main problem is because i feel it restricts the ROM, for example, a pull up, if you have your shoulder blades tight, there's going to be less ROM, at least there is in my case anyway.

I did some scapula wall slides, dip shrugs, incline db shrugs and lat pulldown iso holds yesterday, some doms in that region :wink:


Going to continue working on these areas, dip shrugs, bentover/prone shrugs, db lateral raises and db rows.

Think i might do the rows bilaterally, at the moment i find it easier to feel the muscles working when working together rather than uni-laterally.


go with kroc rows


You can work on your thoracic mobility. If there is tightness and or weakness in the thoracic spine area you can have shoulder issues due to the scapular not moving as it should when you use your arm. Are your pecs tight? You can google thoracic mobility exercises and find some that may benefit you. IF this fails, you should get a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist or an ortho doc.


Have done a little bit of thoraic work on foam roller, pecs could be tight, AC joint seems tight, have been doing pec stretches reguarly more recently though, will have another look for some thoraic exercises, thanks.