How to strengthen the trapezius muscle

Written by terrie dominguez
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How to strengthen the trapezius muscle
Strengthen trapezius muscles using weights. (Will & Deni McIntyre/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The trapezius muscles are located in the upper and middle back. The trapezius muscle extends from the base of the skull down to the mid back, and spreads out over the entire shoulder blade. These muscles are used when the shoulders are in use. It is important to keep trapezius muscles strong, because when you have strong trapezius muscles, everyday activities are easier. Here are some ways you can strengthen trapezius muscles.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Hand weights or dumbbells

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Perform shoulder shrugs. This exercise can be done either while holding hand weights or empty-handed. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, and bend your knees slightly. Let your hands fall naturally at your sides, and slowly shrug your shoulders. Hold that pose for two to three seconds, then slowly lower your shoulders back down. Do this 15 to 20 times. If you are using hand weights, make sure you have a firm grip on them.

  2. 2

    Perform upright rows. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold hand weights or dumbbells in each hand with a firm grip in front of your body with your palms facing towards you. Lift the weights directly up along your torso until you reach your chin. Keep your elbows out to the sides as you lift. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly and with control lower down to the start position. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times.

    How to strengthen the trapezius muscle
    Hand weights are helpful for building muscle. (dumbbell image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Perform bent over rows. Hold a hand weight in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend from the waist, so your torso is perpendicular to the floor. Let your hands drop down to the floor in front of you. With a firm grip on the hand weights, raise your hands up towards your chin with your elbows out of the sides. Hold this position for two to three seconds, then slowly lower down to the starting position.

  4. 4

    Perform neck stretches. Sit upright in a chair or stand up tall, and look straight ahead of you. Tilt your head forward slowly, and hold that position for a few seconds. Bring your head back up to neutral, and then tilt your head back so you're looking at the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds, then bring your head back to neutral. Tilt your head to one side and hold for a few seconds. Bring your head back to neutral, and tilt your head to the other side and hold for a few seconds. Bring your head back to neutral. You can perform these neck stretches with resistance by pushing your hand against your head lightly while trying to push your head back to neutral.

  5. 5

    Perform resistance exercises using your own body. An example of this type of exercise is to make a fist with one hand, and press that fist into the palm of your opposite hand. Resist the forward motion with the palm of your opposite hand. Hold this position for a few seconds and then switch hands. Alternate hands five to 10 times. You can also perform this exercise by using a wall to act as resistance. Another example of a resistance exercise is to bend your elbows, and keep them at your sides. Make a fist with one hand, and wrap your other hand under it. Try to push your fist out to the side while resisting the motion with your other hand. Do this a few times, and then switch hands.

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