Our trapezius or “traps” divide into three sections. They have have radically different shapes, fiber directions and primary movement functions. Yet, this does still behave as one muscle. In particular, when our lower traps are weak or inhibited, our upper and middle traps will try to assist.

One of the primary functions of the upper traps is to elevate the shoulders. However, one of the primary depressors of the shoulder are your lower traps. The only other shoulder depressor is serratus anterior. So, any attempt to “help” from our upper traps tends to elevate our shoulders and lock them in a battle they cannot win.

Compressing the Lower Traps

The lower traps run from the your spine up and out in a V-shaped pattern towards the lower, inside edge of your shoulder blades. They pull your shoulder blades down and inward.

When your arms are at your sides they are much shorter than depicted here. In that position, you can use a tennis ball in a sock or a well designed tool like the BackKnobber to reach trigger points in your lower traps.

This reclining position allows you to completely relax the shoulder while compressing these trigger points.

Serratus anterior comes off your ribs and attaches your shoulder blade. It pulls your shoulder blade down and out. To reach your serratus anterior, we recommend using two tennis balls in a