The lower trapezius muscle helps to pull the shoulder blades back and down. It directly counteracts the pulling of the pectoralis minor muscle, which tries to pull the shoulder blades forward into a slouch. Unfortunately, we are usually stronger in our pectoralis minor chest muscle than we are in our lower trapezius back muscle, resulting in shoulders that are pulled forward. This forward shoulder posture gives us chronic neck and shoulder pain by putting the shoulder muscles in a state of constant tension as they are always being pulled and stretched.
Strengthening the lower trapezius muscle can bring a balance to the shoulders and leave them in a more neutral, ergonomically efficient position. Here are some exercises that can help:
The second video does not have any sound, so pay close attention. This exercise is perfect for those of you that have a gym membership. If not, a theraband can be all you need.
- Do the exercise slowly
- The thumb should be pointed towards the ceiling at the beginning and behind you at the end position.
- Start with the shoulder shrugged forward, then pull the shoulder blade back.
- Do not over extend the shoulder to the point of feeling any pinching or sharp pain.
- Use only a small amount of weight/resistance. Form is the most important thing here. If you feel you are cheating to do the reps, take some weight off.