Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-A Great Question Regarding the Mid/Low Traps!-

I just responded to an excellent question from a reader and felt it was worth sharing with everyone!

Sarah, I have a quick question for you. I experience a lot of soreness/pain in my middle trap and recently found the “Fixed Bar Rhomboids Stretch” ( which helps a little. Do you know of any exercises or stretches to help out my traps? Thanks!

Hi there!

Let me offer my $0.02 but keep in mind that because I don’t have an idea of your specifics (posture, workout schedule, health history, etc.), this is a generalized slant on things! 

The mid/low traps tend to be a weaker area in most people. Poor posture can most definitely contribute to this, as well as improper exercise selection (for example, focusing too much on the “mirror muscles,” aka chest and biceps, and neglecting the posterior of the body). The mid/low traps serve to retract and depress the scapulae. When the body is out of balance (again, if there is too much emphasis on training the chest), this function goes out the window…thus setting the exerciser up for pain and/or injury.

So, how do you work the mid/low traps? Think of movements that replicate the function we are trying to restore/improve – scapular retraction/depression! The “YTWL” sequence is a prime example, as well as scapular wall slides, band pull-aparts, and prone cobras. There is a great deal of isometric work done by the mid/low traps during farmers walks.

With this being said, stretching the area may not be the best solution. The soreness could be a result of a postural imbalance, but again, I am unable to see what’s going on with you. If the mid/low traps are “stressed out” because of poor posture, their function may be inhibited, greatly facilitating the need for “activation” of the area. Even if you have excellent posture, if you throw some exercises that strengthen the mid/low traps into your routine, you can’t go wrong!

Great question, and I hope this helps!

Yours in Health,



4 responses

  1. Thanks Sarah!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    • No problemo! 😀 That’s what i’m here for!

      January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

  2. I doubt it is posture so I will do what I can to strengthen it more so.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    • Strengthening the area is a definite must for everyone! Even if you have excellent posture, everyday activities such as driving, working on computer, etc can take a toll on these muscles. 🙂

      January 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm

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