According to a recent article by performance expert Ralph Cornwell, the lower portion of the trapezius muscle is responsible for “developing a base of power in the upper torso.” The lower trapezius muscle also disperses force from a blow to the head, helping to prevent concussions and neck injuries.
The Shrug is the most common training exercise for strengthening the trap muscle. But although they are certainly beneficial, Shrugs recruit only the upper portion of the trap, neglecting the middle and lower sections. To work the entire trap, Cornwell offers several exercises that target the lower portion of the muscle, two of which are highlighted below. (If you’re interested in learning more about the trapezius muscles, head over to The Ralph Cornwell Files.)
Single-Arm Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
Sets/Reps: 2x6-8 each arm
Coaching Points: Keep dumbbell positioned over shoulder // Perform in controlled fashion
Seated Row Series
Sets/Reps: 2x max reps
Coaching Points: Reduce weight by 50 percent to perform second movement // Do not bend arms to retract scaps // Perform for specified duration or until form is compromised // If Seated Row machine is unavailable, perform using cable machine