Lower trapezius weakness is a common finding with many of the clients we assess at IFAST. Even in our strongest athletes, we’ll find relative weakness that may affect their abilities to perform the heavier, maximal strength upper body exercises.
The now common scapular exercises such as I’s, L’s, Y’s, T’s, and W’s are good selections to start to resolve scapular muscle weakness. This post will focus on the Y exercise, AKA, lower trap raise.
A few keys to success:
1. The arms should come up to angle of about 135 degrees of abduction (45 degrees above the “T” position).
2. Turn the thumb side of your hand upward to externally rotate the shoulder. The “Y” also promotes high levels of activity of the shoulder external rotators.
3. Lead the movement with the scapula. The arrow shown on the photo above shows the direction to drive the scapula. Too often, clients will abbreviate the exercise due to a lack of scapular movement. If you’re a trainer or coach, a simple tactile cue of a light fingertip touch on the lower trap and a verbal cue to “pull the shoulder blade to my finger” will go a long way to getting a much more complete movement.