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Do you have tight traps?

traps exerciseAh, trapezius muscle, you get blamed for everything. Remedial massage clients tell us their traps are tight, some remedial massage therapists tell clients they have tight traps. However, this isn’t the full story. The trapezius muscle is a big broad and superficial muscle originating at the lower part of the thorax and inserting into the base of the skull, then fastening along the vertebral column and out to the shoulder blade and collarbone. It has ascending, descending and transverse fibres and has many functions; retraction, elevation, depression and superior rotation. To say it is ‘tight’ is neither useful nor accurate! Indeed, portions may be tight, but equally and more often, portions will be weak. Neglecting to strengthen the weakened portions of trapezius is why so many people suffer excessively from poor shoulder positioning and posture and why remedial massage alone sometimes doesn’t quite manage to rectify the problem.

The following exercise is best done in concert with exercises to strengthen other muscles of the back, neck and shoulders and stretches for the neck, back and pecs. To create a well-rounded routine to do at home or at the office, why not book for a Stretch & Strength session?

Bodyweight shrugs | Traps Exercise


Place your hands on your hips with the fingertips pointing down.

Ensure the shoulder is not rolled forwards by imagining your shoulder blades sliding gently towards the centre of your back, or your back pocket.

In this position, the upper arm is in approximately 40 degrees, which is the best position for activating the weak upper portion of trapezius, without overworking the tight levator scap which sits deeper.

Squeeze your shoulder blades up to your ears, then release them down again.

Add a small pause in the elevated position.

Repeat for 10-12 repetitions and perform several sets a day.

Melbourne Natural Therapies
Traps Exercise
Remedial Massage