A Series of Trapezius Stretches and Trapezius Exercises

Published: 27th June 2011
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I am going to discuss a number of trapezius muscle exercises--with weights, resistance bands, and also some stretches. My aim is to give you a selection of exercises to learn to hit your trap muscles with.

First off, it's best to strive for proper form when doing any of the techniques below. I am not responsible if you injure yourself by trying any of the exercises.

A key truth: It is better to have good form than it is to lift more weight. Avoid getting your self confidence involved. Your success will arrive from good form and approaching the exercises with 100% effort.

Trapezius exercises with dumbbells
  • The dumbbell shrug - hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands and allow them to hang down at your sides. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Without bending your elbows, shrug your shoulders straight upwards trying to touch your ear lobes. Go as high as you can. Flex the triceps to keep the elbows from bending. Squeeze at the top for a second before lowering. Don't roll the shoulders.

  • The dumbbell upright row - Hold a couple of dumbbells on your thighs in front of you and allow your arms to hang. The toes shoulder width apart. Lift the dumbbells to your chin, keeping the dumbbells in front of you nearby to your body. Hold them for 2 seconds before lowering them.

Trapezius exercises with a barbell

  • Barbell shrug - This is similar to dumbbell shrug though with a barbell. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. You should never bend your elbows, and shrugthe shoulders vertically and attempt to touch your ears. Do the same as before: go up as high as you can. Flex the triceps and prevent your elbows from bending. Squeeze at the very top for a second before lowering. Don't roll the shoulders.

  • Narrow grip ez-curl upright row - Grab an easy curl bar with a close grip. Make your feet shoulder width apart. You want a full range of motion (ROM). Lift vertically in front of you.

  • Wide grip barbell row - Grip the bar with a wider grip than the ez curl. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Lift straight up

Trapezius stretches

  • Upper trapezius stretch - Tilt your ear toward your shoulder and use your fingers to apply gentle pressure. Hold for about 30 seconds. To obtain an even better stretch you can also anchor the opposite arm by sitting on it.

  • Stretch your neck scalenes muscles - Sit on a chair and put your left hand under your chair, look down and to the left (or right first) for thirty seconds, then go back to the original position. Let your ear fall toward your shoulder. You should feel pressure in midsection of neck. Hold for thirty seconds. Next, let your head return. Next, turn your head to the same side but this time look up. You should feel a stretch near the front of your neck. You should do this for a minimum of 30 seconds and maximum 90 seconds. Use the opposite hand under the chair and look the opposite ways for the opposing side.

  • Rhomboids mid-back muscles stretch - Use one arm to grasp a door post and walk around it to stabilize the shoulder and get an effective stretch along middle of the back. Notice the release in between the spine and your shoulder blade. Hold for thirty seconds to ninety seconds.



I think this collection of exercises can provide you a variety of things to try in the gym.

Good luck with your quest to superior trapezius muscles.

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