Lower Trapezius Muscle Anatomy
& Exercises 101: The Middle Back

This guide presents the lower trapezius muscle fiber anatomy. Learn its functions and how to train it with the best exercises.

This portion of the trapezius muscle group extends down from the middle and upper fibers; here it forms a downward pointing triangle in the middle back region...

...Many people don't realize that the traps aren't just the muscles between your neck and shoulders

The actions of the lower trapezius include raising, lowering and retracting (bringing together) the shoulder blades; as well as arching your upper back.

The low traps are only partially worked from shrug exercise; shrugs work mainly the upper trapezius fibers...

Instead, the lower fibers get hit better with rowing movement or certain lateral raise movements, such as these exercises.

At bottom of this page, you'll find a short glossary of defined terms for all the anatomical terminology on this page.

The table of contents (TOC) shows the exact content of this guide; click the links to instantly jumping to a given section.

Lower Trapezius Anatomy

Lower Trapezius

Lower Trapezius Muscle Fibers

  • Origin
    • Spinous Processes of the Thoracic Vertebrae of the Spinal Column
  • Insertion
    • Inferior Part of the Medial Side of the Spine of the Scapula
  • Function
    • Extension of the Thoracic Spine
    • Lateral/Upward Scapular Rotation
    • Scapular Depression
    • Scapular Retraction

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Exercises for the Lower Trapezius Muscle Fibers

Exercises. Below is a list of the exercises that most directly workout these traps muscles.

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Related Muscles. Muscles that perform similar functions include the following:

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  • Extension of the Thoracic Spine. Pulling the thoracic spine (middle back) backward by bending its origin.
  • Lateral/Upward Scapular Rotation. Raising the scapula upward, while also rotating the inferior angle of the scapula laterally (i.e. to the outside).
  • Scapular Depression. Moving the scapula downward.
  • Scapular Retraction. Moving the scapulae back together.


  • Cervical Vertebrae. The individual back bones of the cervical spine. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, beginning from the base of the skull to the end of the neck region.
  • Inferior. Below, or lower; located closer to the feet, away from the head.
  • Medial. On, or extending toward, the inside.
  • Scapula. Shoulder blade.
  • Spinous Process. The portion of each individual vertebra that extends downward and backward, away from the arch. Many back muscles attach at these points.
  • Thoracic Vertebrae. The individual back bones of the thoracic spine. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, beginning from the base of the neck region and extending through the chest and rib area.

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