Developing the Lower Trapezius

Y lower trap raiseLower 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.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • James Deganti


    If using a functional Trainer Cable Machine, is there value (in terms of the lower traps) to setting the arms of the machine high and fairly wide, and then executing what amounts to a “Y-Position” Reverse Overhead Shrug? This would be like a scapular depression on a pulldown machine but allowing for the arms to be angled similarly to the picture above due to the adjustability of the cable machine arms.

    • Yes, there’s value. Work to perform the same exercise hanging from a chin-up bar.

  • Eric V

    I find my TRX to be great for for targeting this area.

  • Bill,

    Great exercise.

    There is a lot of research backing up this exercise.

    I use it more to focus on activation and endurance of the lower trapezius.

    This is one of the exercises that I have in my scapular stabilization exercise program

    Rick Kaselj

  • Jeff


    I’m a golfer who has read/watched many of your resources and articles. Question about downward rotation syndrome- that would have a significant impact on a golfer’s swing- Would it not?

    Any tips on how to correct it?


  • Jeff,

    The correction will depend on whether it’s a strength/flexibility issue, motor control,or both. For instance, decreased activation of serratus anterior, your primary upward rotator, may promote the downward rotation. In this case, it’s not a strenth issue but simply a matter of facilitating the serratus. There are several methods to address this. Some may present with a lengthening of upper trap, kyphosis, or other postural adaptation that negatively affects scapular function. If you’re on your on this, the I’s, L’s, T’s, Y’s, etc. and wall slides front and back may give you some benefit. If you don’t feel like you’re making gains, see a pro who can assess you directly.

  • Jason


    What do you think about nick tumminellos updated “LYTP” set? He mentions that with the “y” you want to actually reach out in front of you rather than depressing the scaps. He says that recent research states that reaching out reflexively activates the lower trap more. Thoughts? Thanks.
    By the way I love the new assess and correct and inside out DVDs…they’ve helped me and my clients out a great deal!


    • Sorry, I haven’t read Nick’s comments, so I can offer much of an opinion. I use the cue on the scapula to encourage a posterior tilt and external rotation of the scapula and discourage excessive scapular elevation. I’ll also use a cue of keeping the arm “long” which may be similar to what you mention about reaching out.

      Glad you like Assess and Correct and Inside-Out. Use them in good health.

  • The lower trap raise or Y exercise is difficult to execute correctly and help may be needed until you master the correct form. Maximize your efforts, get someone to check if your doing it right.

  • Pingback: Lower traps | Mypetgals()

  • Pingback: Tinapa()

  • What i do not realize is actually how you are not actually much more well-liked than you might be now. You’re very intelligent. You realize thus significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

  • I wholly agree with everything you mentioned in this blog post. Thanks for the fascinating info.

  • Weihnachtsmann Service Köln buchen

  • That is a very well-written post! I am so glad that writers like you still exist!

  • Celia Tiffner

    roulette tricks verboten

  • […]check below, are some completely unrelated internet websites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  • I fully agree with what you mentioned within this article. Thanks for the fascinating information.

  • Have you ever considered incorporating a few things in addition to your opinions? I mean, what you may say is necessary and everything. Nevertheless its got absolutely no impact, no pop! It could be if you integrated a pic or maybe 2, a relevant video? You will have such a more powerful blog if you let people View just what exactly youre talking about rather than just reading it.

  • Jesus Christ there is a great deal of spammy comments on this page. Have you actually thought about trying to eliminate them or putting in a extension?

  • Pingback: colleges of medical education()

  • When I start your Feed it seems to be a ton of junk, is the issue on my side?

  • Wanted to drop a remark and let you know your Rss feed is not working today. I tried including it to my Bing reader account and got absolutely nothing.

  • Pingback: Physiotherapy Clinic in Mississauga()

  • This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  • How come you dont have your web site viewable in mobile format? Can not view anything in my phone.

  • Pingback: tatuaggi()

  • Re: The person who produced the remark that this was a good internet site actually needs to have their head analyzed.

  • Pingback: electrical contractors()

  • Pingback: Durood Ibrahim in Arabic()

  • Pingback: physical therapist salary()

  • Pingback: credit card()

  • Pingback: aloès()

  • Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I feel that you just could do with a few percent to force the message home a bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • Pingback: tuinlantaarn()

  • Pingback: fashion worship()

  • Pingback:

  • Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Pingback: correo hotmail iniciar sesion()

  • I just want to tell you that I am beginner to weblog and certainly liked this web page. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You really come with awesome stories. Thank you for sharing your webpage.

  • Pingback: cartas de amor para mi novio()

  • Pingback: mas informacion()

  • Pingback: Que es la contaminacion()

  • Pingback: correo yahoo en español()

  • Pingback: Visita mi blog()

  • Pingback: cuidado del medio ambiente()

  • Pingback: mas info()

  • Pingback: que es ciencia()

  • Pingback: cuantos sistemas operativos existen()

  • Pingback: Sistema solar()

  • Pingback: visita ahora()

  • Pingback: click aqui()

  • Pingback: ver mas()

  • Pingback: Leaky Basement toronto()

  • Pingback: low cost web site()

  • Do youve got a spam concern on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was questioning your situation; we have produced some great methods and we are searching to trade solutions with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if serious.

  • Pingback: meet women()

  • WOW! Now that is what you call a well written article, it has everything in it that as a reader you want to know. Keep up the good work and continue to post great articles like this one.

  • WOW! Now that is what you call a well written article, it has everything in it that as a reader you want to know. Keep up the good work and continue to post great articles like this one.

  • Pingback: winning lottery()

  • Eugene

    What helped me to improve my trainings was Navy Seal Formula – a dietary supplement manufactured by MGNutritionals. I was always opposed to all kinds of chemicals, but this supplement contains natural compounds, like siberian ginseng extract and caffeine. Never expected that supplement would provide such a tangible result, but for me it worked perfect.