The lower traps are one of the most neglected muscle groups in the body. This is a huge mistake, whether your goal is improved performance, healthy shoulders, or a combination of the two.
Generally, the lower traps are lengthened and weak due to the excessively kyphotic upper torso position. If you have any preconceived notions about getting strong in pressing movements (benching, overhead pressing, etc.), lower trap development is crucial.
The lower traps are integral in both moving and stabilizing the scapulae. When coupled with the upper traps and serratus, they form the upward rotation force couple. Upward rotation is kind of important if you want to put your hands over your head for any reason. As well, the lower traps are key stabilizers into scapular depression. Scapular depression is imperative if you want a stable base when bench pressing.
The key with the lower traps is a multi-faceted approach:
- Learn to recruit them (activation drills)
- Strengthen them (pull-up/pull-down variations)
- Integrate them with the serratus and upper traps to produce efficient upward rotation
This topic will be a large section in my upcoming Australian seminars. If you’re in the Melbourne or Sydney areas, you won’t want to miss out. Check out my schedule on the main page for information. Bill and I also cover quite a few lower trap based drills in our Inside-Out DVD and manual.