Best Lower Trap Exercises To Build Mass and Strength

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

Why are lower trap so vital? The trapezius works to stabilize your shoulders and upper back. To maintain good posture and avoid back pain, it’s important to keep the trapezius strong. The weak lower trap can increase the risk of injury during other exercises, such as a chest press, overhead press.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to strengthen and develop your lower traps. Although every trap exercise hits all three muscle fibers to some degree, certain ones are better than others at stressing the different Muscle fibers because of the biomechanics involved.

In this article, we will explore the following:

Lower Trap Anatomy

The trapezius aka trap muscle is a large muscle in your back. The trapezius is called such because of its shape. 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 with a specific kind of movement. Together, the three parts of the trapezius help you move your head, stand up straight, bend or twist your torso and raise your arms.

As mentioned above, the trapezius muscle is divided into 3 areas:

Upper Trap

  • The upper trapezius is located in the upper back and neck region.
  • The primary function of it is to elevate the scapula, which is evident during shrugging movements.
  • It also assists in head and neck extension and plays a role in upwardly rotating the scapula during arm abduction.

Middle Trap

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

Lower Trap

  • The lower trapezius is found in the lower and medial part of the trapezius muscle.
  • The primary function of the lower trapezius is to depress and upwardly rotate the scapula.
  • It plays a crucial role in stabilizing the scapula against the rib cage, particularly during overhead arm movements.
trapezius muscle workout

Benefits of Strengthening Lower Trap

Strengthening your trapezius is an important part of any workout routine. This muscle is responsible for the mobility and stability of the shoulder muscles.

1. Improved Posture

A study found that strengthening the lower traps can help to improve posture in people with forward head posture.

It helps to maintain proper posture by preventing the shoulders from rounding. A Strong low trap promotes an upright posture, reduces the likelihood of developing a hunched or slouched posture.

2. Enhanced Shoulder Stability

The lower traps are like the superheroes of shoulder stability. When they’re strong, they help keep your shoulder blades in the right place during all sorts of movements.

That means you can wave goodbye to wobbly shoulders and feel more in control during your workouts and daily activities.

3. Reduced Risk of Shoulder Injuries

If your lower trapezius muscles are weak, it can cause problems with your shoulders and make other muscles work too much. This can cause problems like impingement or rotator cuff problems.

A study has shown that strengthening the lower traps helps distribute the load more evenly and reduce the strain on other structures in the shoulder joint.

4. Enhanced Upper Body Performance

By improving scapular stability and shoulder mechanics, strong lower traps positively impact your performance in various upper body exercises.

This includes pressing movements (e.g., bench press, shoulder press) and pulling exercises (e.g., rows, pull-ups), allowing you to lift more efficiently and safely.

5. Alleviated Neck and Upper Back Pain

Weak lower trapezius muscle leads to postural changes and loss of scapula control, which are related to neck pain.

Therefore, lower trapezius strengthening exercise program is an effective method for reducing the level of neck dysfunction, and improving the postural alignment, muscle thickness.

The study showed that strengthening exercises of the lower trapezius muscles is effective for reduced pain and increasing range of motion in patients with chronic cervical pain.

6. Functional Movement Benefits

Strong lower traps contribute to smooth and efficient shoulder mechanics. They assist in upwardly rotating the scapula during arm abduction, which is essential for raising your arms overhead and performing activities like reaching or lifting.

14 Best Lower Trap Exercises

The most effective lower trap exercises to enhance the development of bigger shoulders and massive traps. Now, let’s get into the best lower-trap exercises for Mass and strength, using various types of fitness equipment.

We have created the lower trap exercises into many sections, such as:

Best Bodyweight Lower Trap Exercises

1. 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 focuses on the shoulder and back muscles, mainly.

They also hit all the rotator cuff muscles which include the infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and supraspinatus muscles. These work together to stabilize the shoulder and move the arm.

I, T, W, Y

How To Do

  1. Lay with your stomach flat on the ground with your arms and legs fully extended.
  2. Point your toes away from your body and fully extend your elbows and fingers, positioning your palms facing inwards.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold these positions (I, Y, T, W) throughout the exercise.
  4. Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.


  • 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.
  • To increase the difficulty for either version, add a 1-3 pound weight in each hand.
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.

2. Inverted Row

The inverted row, also known as the body row or Australian pull-up, is a highly effective bodyweight exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, 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. In the gym, most people do this exercise on the smith machine.

But, you can also 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 to engage the target low trap muscles effectively.

3. Pull-Up

The pull-up is the best lower traps bodyweight exercise. It 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. Additionally, you can progress the exercise by adding weight using a weight belt or a weighted vest.

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 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

Lower Trap Exercises With Dumbbell

4. Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Bent Over raises are an excellent exercise to isolate and work specifically on rear deltoid muscles. It also targets the lower traps and rhomboids, which play a crucial role in stabilizing the scapulae.

There are many variations of bent over lateral raise that you can add to your workout routine, and all 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 : 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. Bend forward and let the dumbbells hang on your sides.
  3. Lift the dumbbells, raising them on your sides to a level slightly upper more than your shoulders.
  4. Now lower the dumbbells back to your sides.


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

5. Lying Dumbbell Rear Delt Row

The lying dumbbell rear delt row is an exercise that targets the rear deltoid muscles, as well as 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 and repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.


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

Barbell Low Trap Exercises

6. Bent Over Barbell Rows

If you are looking to strengthen the upper back and add massive muscle to the upper back region, then bent over barbell rows are the best upper back exercise.

Spacing your hands shoulder-width apart or closer targets the central inner section of the lats, whereas a wider grip targets the outer lats.

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 a narrow stance and grab a bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Bend your torso forward at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor with knees slightly bend and let the bar hang in front of you.
  3. Now, use the back and raise the bar until it touches the abdominal region and not the chest region, as it reduces back muscle contraction.
  4. 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.

4. Landmine Row 

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

The landmine row can help to improve posture by strengthening the back muscles and low trap. It is a tough exercise, but building a strong back is a must to develop a quality physique, stay injury-free, and back pain-free for life.


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 desired number of 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

8. Face Pull

Face pull is a cable machine exercise that primarily targets the rear deltoid and traps to a lesser degree it also targets the biceps.

The face pull is an effective exercise to strengthen the muscles that contribute to scapular retraction and shoulder stability. It prevents muscular imbalance and builds overall shoulder strength.

Face Pull

How To Do

  1. Grab the ends of the rope attachment using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and slightly lean back.
  2. Pull the rope toward your face as you spread the ends of the rope, so they end up on the sides of your ears just above your shoulders in the finish position.
  3. Hold this position for as a second as you squeeze your shoulder blades together, contracting rear delts and lower traps as hard as possible.
  4. Then slowly return the rope to the start position.


  • Stand straight with feet in a comfortable, balanced stance.
  • Be sure to exhale when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Your upper arms should be straight out to your sides with elbows bent.

9. 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 most rowing exercises, the lower trapezius muscles are used to pull the scapula backward.

Using this exercise gives people with shoulder issues an exercise to get the benefits of rows. In addition, face pull is one of the most effective corrective exercises that help compensate for poor posture and shoulder dysfunction.

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 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 backwards to pull the weight towards you.
  • Focus on the mind-muscle connection to pull down by using your back muscles.

10. Reverse Cable Crossover

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

The reverse cable crossover helps you to strengthen and tone the rear delt and lower trap muscles. It is a good exercise for building muscle and strength in the deltoids and upper back 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 by using your rear delts, pull your elbows out and back until your arms are inline with your shoulders.
  5. Gently draw the cable ends forwards and inwards to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the desired number of reps.


  • 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 exercise.
Know More: Best Cable Trap Exercises For Strength & Size

11. Cable Twisting Standing Row

The Cable Twisting Standing Row exercise involves numerous muscles as it requires you to slightly rotate at the waist. It is a great exercise to improve posture by strengthening the lats and lower trap. 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 is rotated towards the cable.
  4. Keeping your elbow close to your body, pull back towards your waist while rotating your waist to the same direction
  5. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat desired reps.


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

12. Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows is an excellent exercise to build middle back muscles and this works on lower lats as well. It can be done with wide and narrow grips.

To target back muscle from different angles, this exercise can be performed in various ways.

  • A pronated (overhand) grip tends to target the upper and middle trapezius,
  • Whereas, 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 so that they 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.
  • Keep your upper back stationary, don’t move your upper back, back, and forth.
Know More: Guide To Mastering The Cable Row: Benefits, Form, Variation

Lower Trap Exercises With Resistance Band

13. 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 bone.

The tension created by the band highly activates the rear delt and upper back, making it an excellent warm-up/primer before an upper-body training session.

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 band of moderate resistance to a squat rack 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. Drive your arms back while keeping your elbows slightly above shoulder level, and slightly externally rotate your shoulders at the end.
  5. Hold the end position for a second, then return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  6. Repeat for the remaining number of repetitions


  • Stand straight with 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.

14. Standing Reverse Fly with Resistance Bands

This is a movement that can be done on shoulder day, as it targets the rear delts and lower trap. However, we like to also hit it on a back day as the rear delts often need to double the work each week.

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

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 in front of 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, pull the band apart and squeezing your shoulder blades.
  5. Return to start and repeat, keeping tension on the band the entire time.
  6. Repeat the desired number of reps.


  • 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.

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

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

Add Lower Trap Exercises Into Your Workout Routine

They can be incorporated into your workout routine in a variety of ways. Here are some options:

  1. As a standalone exercise: Do on 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.

Lower Trap Workout Routine Plan

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


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 along with 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 and extends from T2 to T12 and inserts onto the spine of the scapula from the acromion process to its root.

The lower fibres 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, they can best be developed by drawing the shoulder blades downward while keeping the arms almost straight and stiff.


Your back is made up of 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 proper form.


18 Best Trap Exercises (Upper, Mid, Lower Trap)

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