Best Lower Trap Exercises With Dumbbell, Barbell, Cable and Bodyweight

If you want to build a bigger and stronger trap, you should add lower trap exercises to your workout routine.

Why are lower traps so vital? The strong trapezius muscles help to stabilize your shoulders and upper back.

And keeping the trapezius strong is also important to maintain a good posture and avoid back pain.

If your lower trap is weak, you might hurt yourself more when doing other heavy lifting exercises like overhead and bench presses.

Now, we have a question: How can we train the lower trap?

Even though every trap exercise works, all three trap muscle fibers. The training mechanics of some trap exercises make them better at focusing on the lower trap muscle than others.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make them better and stronger.

  • Trap Anatomy
  • 16 Best Lower Trap Exercises
  • Benefits of Strengthening The Trap
  • Workout Routine

Lower Trap Exercises With Dumbbell

You can do many dumbbell exercises at home or in the gym to strengthen and stabilize the lower traps.

You can train your traps with a dumbbell Y raise or row, even with a single dumbbell. This will have your lower traps burning in no time.

Here are the best dumbbell exercises to add to your routine for better lower trap development.

1. Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Bent Over raises are excellent for isolating and working on rear deltoid muscles. It also targets the lower traps and rhomboids.

There are many variations of bent-over lateral raise that you can add to your workout routine. All variations have their own unique benefits.

  • Cable Rear Delt Lateral Raise: Constant tension for efficient muscle activation.
  • Incline Bench Rear Raise: Increases stretch and contraction for rear delt and low trap development.
  • One-Arm Rear Bent Over Raise: Improves symmetry and targets rear deltoid isolation.
  • Resistance Bands Bent Over Raise: The best option for training at home.
Lateral Bent over row

How To Do

  1. Sit at the end of a bench with a pair of dumbbells.
  2. Lean forward and let your chest touch almost your thighs.
  3. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in. Let the dumbbells hang on your sides.
  4. Raise the dumbbells to the sides until they parallel to the floor and align with your shoulders.
  5. Pause briefly at the top of the movement.
  6. Now lower the dumbbells back to your sides.


  • Your arms should be parallel to your shoulders.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Keep strict form to isolate the rear delts.
Know More: The Ultimate Guide To Dumbbell Rear Delt Workout

2. Dumbbell Y-Raise

Incline Y dumbbell raises are a great and easy-to-do shoulder stability exercise that targets both the rotator cuff muscles and your mid and lower traps.

The Y Raise is usually done on an incline bench, but you can do it standing, on the floor, flat, or even with a Swiss ball.

Incline Dumbbell Y-Raise

How To Do 

  1. Lie face down on a flat bench with your chin past the end of the bench.
  2. Hold two light dumbbells or weight plates.
  3. Lift both dumbbells up as high as possible while forming a letter Y with your arms and torso.
  4. Hold this position for two seconds before returning the dumbbells to the starting position.
  5. Do 8–12 reps.


  • Raise arms up in a slow, controlled manner.
  • Avoid lifting too much weight because it can hurt your deltoids.

3. Lying Dumbbell Rear Delt Row

The lying dumbbell rear delt row is an exercise that targets the rear deltoid muscles and the upper back and trapezius muscles. When done correctly, it can effectively target your lower traps.

Stabilizing your torso on the bench will help prevent cheating or swinging of the weights.

It may be a good option for those who are looking to vary their routine or reduce strain on their lower back.

Lying Dumbbell Rear Delt Row

How To Do

  1. Start off lying on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand extended out in front of you.
  2. Slowly pull the dumbbells up until your elbows are just above your shoulders.
  3. Once you reach the final position, hold for a count and squeeze your muscles.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.


  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Pause momentarily at the top before slowly lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Barbell Exercises For Lower Trap

It is a great way to build strength and stability in the shoulder by adding barbell exercises that target the lower traps.

Some of the best barbell lower trap moves are the barbell row and barbell upright.

4. Barbell Upright Row

The barbell upright row is one of the best exercises to build stronger and bigger traps, rhomboid, and rear deltoids.

Research shows that the upright row is one of the best exercises for building shoulder strength and stability.

Keep in Mind:

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a barbell in front of you with an overhand grip (palms facing your body)
  • Hands slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift the barbell straight up towards your chin.
  • Pause briefly when the barbell is at chest level or just under your chin.
  • Lower the barbell back to the starting position.


  • Avoid leaning forward or backward.
  • Inhale on the way down and exhale as you lift the barbell.
  • Your hands should stay close to your body, and your elbows should be higher than your forearms at the movement’s top.

5. Bent Over Barbell Rows

The bent-over barbell row targets the upper back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, rear deltoids, and lower and middle trapezius. It also engages the biceps and forearms.

  • Pulling the bar up higher toward the chest, targets the upper latissimus and trapezius.
  • Pulling the bar through a lower trajectory to touch the abdomen targets the lower lats.
Bent Over Barbell Rows

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing towards you).
  3. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with knees slightly bent, and let the bar hang in front of you.
  5. Use the back and raise the bar until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
  6. Slowly lower the bar under control to the starting position.


  • Do not use more weight than you can handle. This fatigues your spinal erectors and says goodbye to form.
  • Exhale on pushing movement and inhale when returning to the starting position.
  • Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury.

6. Landmine Row 

The Landmine row is one of the best barbell exercises for developing upper back thickness. Check the correct execution technique and blast your lat muscles and lower trap.

The landmine row can help to improve posture by strengthening the back muscles and low trap.


How To Do

  1. Stand over the bar with a wide stance, with the barbell loaded.
  2. Get into a bent-over position with your spine straight and your chest up.
  3. Keep your back arched while you bend at the hips.
  4. Lift the bar until it touches your chest, keeping your back straight.
  5. Now, slowly lower the bar until it nearly contacts the floor.
  6. Repeat the 8–10 reps.


  • It is best to avoid hunchback bending as it can lead to injury.
  • Make sure you go through the entire range of motion.
Read More: Landmine Exercises For Building Muscle And Strength

Lower Trap Workout With Cable

You should add cable exercises to your lower trap exercises. Cables provide constant tension, which can help better target and activate the lower traps.

Cable exercises like the seated cable row and cable face pull place direct stress on the lower traps.

7. Face Pull

Face pull primarily targets the rear deltoid and traps. To a lesser degree, it also targets the biceps.

When doing face pulls, using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) instead of a pronated grip (palms facing down) is better. This makes the workout harder and strengthens the upper back.

Face Pull

How To Do

  1. Set a cable machine up to chest height and attach a rope.
  2. Grab the ends of the rope attachment using a neutral grip.
  3. Pull the rope towards your face and put the ends of the rope near your ears.
  4. Squeeze your rear delts and briefly pause before returning the rope to the starting position with control.
  5. Then, slowly return the rope to the starting position.


  • Stand straight with your feet in a comfortable, balanced stance.
  • Be sure to exhale when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Keep your elbows pointed upwards and to the side as you pull.

8. Cable High Row

High cable row rope is a tremendous exercise that effectively works many muscles, including the shoulder, back, wing, and trapezius muscles.

During high rowing, the lower trapezius muscles pull the scapula back.

Cable High Row

How To Do

  1. Set the cable up at a high point with the rope attachments
  2. Grab the rope with both hands using an overhand grip.
  3. Then take a step back and get onto your knees, facing the cable machine
  4. Pull back through your elbows until your hands are just in front of your shoulders
  5. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.


  • Don’t lean backward to pull the weight towards you.
  • Focus on the mind-muscle connection to pull down by using your back muscles.

9. Reverse Cable Crossover

If you’re looking for an effective cable exercise to enhance your upper back and shoulder development, including your low trap, look no further than reverse cable crossovers.

It helps you to strengthen and tone the rear delt and lower trap muscles

Reverse Cable Crossover

How To Do

  1. Stand in the center of a cable crossover apparatus.
  2. Plant your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
  3. Start with hands crossed in front of you at shoulder height, with the left high cable in your right hand and the right in your left hand.
  4. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows and using your rear delts, pull your elbows out and back until your arms align with your shoulders.
  5. Gently draw the cable ends forwards and inwards to return to the starting position.


  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Avoid bending your elbows, shrugging your shoulders, and changing the plane of your arm movement.
  • Maintain a fixed, slightly bent elbow position throughout the exercise.
Know More: Best Cable Trap Exercises For Strength & Size

10. Cable Twisting Standing Row

It is a great exercise to improve posture by strengthening the lats and lower traps. Since this is a unilateral exercise, it also engages your core.

Besides being a great back and shoulder exercise, this movement also works your hips, glutes, and other lower body muscles.

Cable Twisting Standing Row

How To Do

  1. Attach a single grip handle to an elbow-high cable pulley.
  2. Step back and get into a staggered stance, knees slightly bent.
  3. Your arm should be out straight, and your waist should be rotated towards the cable.
  4. Keep your elbow close to your body and pull back towards your waist.
  5. Pause briefly at the movement’s top, then slowly return to the starting position.


  • Make sure the rotation is in your waist, not your hips.
  • You can place your inactive hand on your other hip for added stability.
  • Your reps should be slow and controlled to make the most of this move.

11. Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows are an excellent exercise to build middle back muscles, which also works on lower lats. It can be done with wide and narrow grips.

This exercise can be performed in various ways to target back muscles from different angles.

  • A pronated (overhand) grip tends to target the upper and middle trapezius,
  • Meanwhile, a neutral (thumbs up) grip hits the middle and lower trapezius.
  • A supinated (underhand) grip switches the focus to the latissimus dorsi.
Seated Cable Rows

How To Do

  1. Sit on a seated cable pulley rowing machine with legs slightly bent and feet supported against the crossbar.
  2. Take hold of the handles with your arms extended and back stretched.
  3. Pull the handles to come as close to the lower chest as possible.
  4. Thrust your chest out while pulling with your body in an upright position.
  5. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.


  • Pause briefly when the handles are close to the chest and squeeze your upper back muscles, bringing the scapulae closer.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid knee and lower back pressure.
  • Remember, a rounded back is a wrong back. Keep it straight at all times.
Know More: Guide To Mastering The Cable Row: Benefits, Form, Variation

Resistance Band Lower Trap Exercises For Home Workout

The resistance bands provide a cost-effective way to target the lower traps at home. Moves like band pull-apart and band rows work the lower traps through their full range of motion.

You can create a defined, stable trap with only a resistance band or two.

12. Resistance Band Face Pull

The Band Face Pull involves 2 of the 3 functions of the rear deltoids—horizontal abduction and external rotation of the upper arm.

The tension created by the band highly activates the rear delt and upper back.

It is also a great choice as a “burner” at the end of an upper body, shoulder, or back training session.

Resistance Band Face Pull

How To Do

  1. Tie a moderate resistance band to a pole or other fixed pillar.
  2. Grab the band with both hands, palms facing each other.
  3. Use a square or split stance, whichever is more comfortable.
  4. Keep your elbows just above shoulder level as you drive your arms back.
  5. Hold the end position for a second, then return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  6. Repeat 10–12 reps and 3–4 sets.


  • Stand straight with your feet in a comfortable, balanced stance.
  • Be sure to exhale when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Think about trying to pinch your shoulder blades as tight as possible when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Your upper arms should be straight out to your sides with elbows bent.

13. Standing Reverse Fly with Resistance Bands

The reverse fly with bands will work your rhomboids, rear delts, and traps.

  • Do this movement on shoulder day to work the rear delts and lower trap.
  • However, we also prefer to do it on a back day because the trap muscles often need to work twice as hard each week.
Standing Reverse Fly with Resistance Bands

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a band around a stationary post, such as a squat rack.
  2. Hold the exercise band before you with your hands slightly lower than your shoulders.
  3. Keep your elbows slightly soft to avoid hyperextending the joint.
  4. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and open the arms out to either side, pulling the band apart and squeezing your shoulder blades.
  5. Return to start and repeat, keeping tension on the band the entire time.


  • Focus on really contracting your upper back muscles.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout each set.
  • Try to keep your elbows up, so you can target your upper back muscles correctly.
Know More: 10 Best Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

Best Bodyweight Lower Trap Exercises

As we know now, having a strong and defined trap is important for maintaining good posture and preventing injuries.

However, hitting the gym daily to work on your trap may not always be feasible. Therefore, we need to do a bodyweight trap workout.

Luckily, you can do many good trap exercises at home.

14. I, T, W, Y

I, Y, T, and W are the best bodyweight lower trap exercises for beginners, and you can easily do them at home. It mainly works the shoulders and back muscles.

In addition, they train all the rotator cuff muscles, including the infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and supraspinatus muscles.

I, T, W, Y

How To Do

  1. Lie face down on the floor or a mat with your arms extended overhead, palms facing each other.
  2. Ensure that your legs are straight and your toes touch the ground.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, and depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down).
  4. Keep your arms straight and raise your chest off the ground.
  5. Your body should form a straight line from your hands to your feet, resembling the letters I, Y, T, and W.
  6. Attempt to hold these positions (I, Y, T, W) throughout the exercise.
  7. Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  8. Hold the position briefly, then lower back down to the starting position.


  • Try holding for only five or 10 seconds for the first time, and work up to 30 seconds in future workouts.
  • Move your arms slowly up and down in each position of I, T, W, and Y.
  • Add a 1-3 pound weight in each hand to increase the difficulty for either version.
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.

15. Inverted Row

The inverted row is a highly effective bodyweight exercise that targets the upper back muscles, including the rhomboids, rear deltoids, and, importantly, the lower trapezius.

It also works the back and shoulder muscles from a different angle and improves scapular retraction.

You can perform the inverted row at home by lying under a chair, holding the chair’s sides, and pulling yourself up.

Inverted Row

How To Do

  1. Adjust the height of the chair and bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.
  4. Keeping your legs and body straight, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar.
  5. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  6. Inhale as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.


  • Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Make sure you go down completely.
  • Perform the exercise slowly and with control.

16. Pull-Up

The pull-up is a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

It helps build considerable upper body strength, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), rhomboids, rear deltoids, biceps, and forearm muscles.

Pull-ups offer versatility in terms of grip variations, such as overhand (pronated), underhand (supinated), or neutral grip.

Wide Grip Pull Up

How To Do

  1. Grab a pull-up bar with an overhand grip and spread your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your chest high.
  3. Pull yourself up by squeezing your shoulder blades together and contracting your lats until your chin passes the bar.
  4. Hold the contraction at the top for a second.
  5. Before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.


  • Go full range of motion and keep form correct.
  • Avoid jerky movements and keep them controlled.
  • If you are unable to do a full pull-up, you can start by doing assisted pull-ups

Add Lower Trap Exercises Into Your Workout Routine

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves

You can incorporate them into your workout routine in numerous ways. Here are some options:

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  2. As part of a shoulder workout: Do them along with other shoulder exercises.
  3. As part of a full-body workout: Do them with other compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

Sets And Reps For Trap Muscles

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


According to the latest scientific evidence, 12–20 weekly sets per muscle group may optimize muscle growth.

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • For muscle endurance: Aim for 15-20+ reps with moderate resistance.
  • For muscle strength: 6–10 reps, with more resistance.
  • For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

1. Shoulder-Focused Workout Routine

Seated Shoulder Press410-12
Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise38-10
Lateral Raises312-15
Front Raises310-12
Face Pulls312-15

2. Upper Body Strength And Definition Routine

Barbell Rows48-10
Dumbbell Bench Press38-10
Seated Cable Rows312-15
Triceps Pushdowns310-12

3. Full Body Strength And Stability Routine

Bent-Over Rows38-10
Cable High Row312-15
Incline Dumbbell Curl38-10
Plank330 sec

Lower Trap Anatomy

The trapezius muscle is a large muscle located in the back. It’s also called the trap muscle. It looks like a trapezoid (a shape with four sides, two that are parallel).

There are three areas of the trapezius, and each area helps you move in a specific way.

Upper Trap

  • It is located in the upper back and neck region.
  • Its primary purpose is to elevate the scapula.
  • It helps move the head and neck forward and rotates the scapula up when lifting an arm.

Middle Trap

  • The middle trapezius is situated between the upper and lower traps.
  • The primary function of it is to retract or squeeze the scapulae together.

Lower Trap

  • It’s in the lower and middle parts of the trapezius muscle.
  • Its main job is to depress and rotate the scapula.
trapezius muscle workout

Benefits of Strengthening Lower Trap

  1. Improved Posture: A study found that strong trap muscles help to improve posture.
  2. Enhanced Shoulder Stability: The lower traps are like the superheroes of shoulder stability. They keep your shoulder blades in place.
  3. Reduced Shoulder Injuries Risk: A study has shown strong traps help reduce the strain on the shoulder joint.
  4. Enhanced Upper Body Performance: It improves scapular stability and shoulder mechanics. It improves pressing exercises (e.g., bench press, shoulder press) and pulling exercises (e.g., rows, pull-ups).
  5. Reduce Neck and Upper Back Pain: A study has shown that it is a great way to reduce neck pain and increase the range of motion in patients with chronic cervical pain.
  6. Improve Scapula functions: They assist in the upward rotation of the scapula during arm abduction.


Can I do lower trap exercises without equipment?

Yes, lower trap exercises can be performed without equipment.

  • Bodyweight exercises like prone Y-T-W-L raises, pull-ups and scapular wall slides are effective options.
  • Additionally, resistance bands face pull, and rear fly can be used to add resistance to lower trap exercises.

How often should I train my lower traps?

Try to include specific lower trap exercises into your routine 1–2 times per week. Allow adequate rest and recovery between sessions to promote muscle growth and prevent overtraining.

Do rows work lower traps?

Yes, rows work lower traps. Rows, including exercises like bent-over rows, inverted rows, and cable rows are effective in targeting the lower traps, along with other muscles of the upper back.

Does deadlift train lower traps?

Yes, deadlifts can train the lower traps. Deadlifts are compound exercises that primarily target the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. They also require scapular stability and retraction, which activates the lower traps and other upper back muscles.

How do you know if you have weak lower traps?

If you have weak lower traps, you may experience symptoms such as poor posture, rounded shoulders, and shoulder blade winging (when the shoulder blades stick out from the back).

You may also have difficulty stabilizing your shoulder blades during certain movements, which could lead to potential shoulder pain or discomfort.

How to Train Lower Trap

The lower trapezius originates on the spine extends from T2 to T12, and inserts onto the spine of the scapula from the acromion process to its root.

The lower fibers act on the scapula (shoulder blades), with their main role being the prime mover in scapular depression. It also acts as a stabilizer when raising the arms overhead through a full range of motion.

As for the lower traps, can best be developed by drawing the shoulder blades downward while keeping the arms almost straight and stiff.


Your back comprises many important muscles, not just your latissimus dorsi (lats) and rear delts.

You should strength train your lower traps just like any other muscle because they are important for proper movement and overall health.

When performing any exercise, be certain to use the proper form.


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