Trapezius Stretches

Trapezius Stretches


The Trapezius is the broad flat superficial muscle that spreads across the neck, shoulders and upper back. Each side of the spine, it is clinically divided into upper fibres, middle fibres and lower fibres. This muscle is commonly associated with neck and shoulder tension and pain for desk workers who suffer from the postural condition known as ‘rounded shoulders’.

Trapezius (upper fibres) StretchStretching

Upper fibres ~ Sitting or standing, laterally flex the head to one side and using your opposite hand, grasp over the top of your head (with your fingers resting just above your ear) and apply a mild force towards the direction you are flexing your head. To increase the stretch, bring your other arm behind your back by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow.

Trapezius (middle fibres) Stretch


Middle fibres ~ Sitting or standing, wrap both your arms around your chest, as if you were giving yourself a big hug. Try to grasp each scapula with your fingers and gently pull laterally. *Alteration on this stretch refer to the Rhomboids muscle stretch – from a kneeling position, cross your arms in front of your body upon the floor, ‘walk’ your hands out away from each other and then lay your body weight upon your crossed arms.

Trapezius (lower fibres) Stretch


Lower fibres ~ Using a pole or anchor in front of you, position your body in a walking stance (one foot forward, the other behind), with opposite hand to the forward foot, grasp the anchor and step further rearward into the walking stance. Now, lean your body weight towards your back foot whilst keeping your chest level to the floor. If you would like to increase the intensity of the stretch, just lean further rearward.


Origin ~

  • External occipital protruberance, medial side of the superior nuchal line, the nuchal ligament and spinous processes of C7 – T12.

Insertion ~

  • Lateral 1/3 of clavicle, acromion and the spine of scapula.

Actions ~

  • Retraction (adduction) and elevation of the scapula, lateral flexion of the head (unilaterally), extension of the head (bilaterally) and stabilisation of the scapula for arm movements.