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The trapezius (Musculus trapezius)


The trapezius is part of the group of shoulder and neck muscles. The muscle is lying superficially like a hood on the upper part of the back. The trapezius owes its name to its shape, which forms a trapezoid out of two triangular single muscles, originating on the left and right side of the vertebral column.  

The trapezius is divided in three parts: upper, descending part (Pars descendens), intermediate, transversal part (Pars transversa), and lower, ascending part (Pars ascendens). The main functions of the trapezius muscle are stabilisation of shoulder blade and shoulder girdle as well as abduction of upper arm. The functions of single parts are the following: 

 

 

M. trapezius (Pars descendens)

 

Origin: Head (back neck line, outer bone lead on the occipital bone) dorsal process of the 7th cervical vertebra
 
Base: Collarbone (lateral third)
Shoulder blade (acromion lateral third)
 
Functions:

Rotation of the head, rotation of cervical vertebral column to the opposite side, lifting the shoulder

 

 

 

 

 

M. trapezius (Pars transversa)

 

Origin: Dorsal processes of the 1st - 5th thoracic vertebra
 
Base: Shoulder blade (middle border of the acromion) Shoulder blade (upper border of the spina scapulae)
 
Functions:

Adduction of the shoulder blade
Bring shoulders together to the back

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. trapezius (Pars ascendens)

 

Origin: Dorsal processes of the 5th - 12th thoracic vertebra
 
Base:

Shoulder blade (spina scapulae)
 

Functions:

Pulling the shoulder downwards
Moving shoulder downwards and inwards

 

 

 

 

Exercise examples

 

 

Shoulder lifting
Schulterheben

 

Course of motion:

  • Stand with slightly straddled legs
  • Torso is upright and fixed
  • Hold the bar in upper grip in front of the thighs
  • Lift shoulders to the longest possible distance of motion
  • Hold the weight for a short time
  • Then lower shoulders

 

Breathing:

  • Inhale while moving upwards
  • Exhale while moving downwards

 

Advices of proof:

  • Complete accomplishment of distance of motion
  • Training weight corresponds to fitness level
  • Avoid rotation of shoulders
  • Avoid bending elbows

 

Alternatives:

  • Doing the exercise behind the body
  • Stretch arms forwards
  • With one hand
  • With barbell bar or dumbbell bar

 




Shoulder pulling backwards to the butterfly machine
reverse-butterfly

 

Course of motion:

  • Sit backwards to the butterfly machine
  • The chest is leant against the backrest
  • Spread arms in an angle of 90°, angling the elbow joint
  • Lean elbows against the paddings for the forearms
  • The shoulder blades have to brought together in the back

 

Breathing:

  • Inhale while bringing shoulder blades together
  • Exhale while loosening shoulder blades

 

Advices of proof:

  • Complete accomplishment of distance of motion
  • Slow course of motion
  • Attention to bringing together the shoulder blades

 

Alternatives:

  • Also in position mentioned above with outer rotation of the arm (thumb upwards)
  • Shoulder pulling in sitting position on the machine with free motion arms

 




Upright rowing
Aufrechtes Rudern

 

Course of motion:

  • Stand with slightly straddled legs
  • Torso is upright and fixed
  • Hold the bar in upper grip in front of the thighs
  • Hands are shoulder width apart
  • Pull the bar upwards to the collarbone - close to the body
  • Elbows have to be lifted and are always higher than the hands

 

Breathing:

  • Inhale while moving upwards
  • Exhale while moving downwards

 

Advices of proof:

  • Elbows are higher than the hands
  • Easy course of motion
  • The bar is close to the body

 

Alternatives:

  • Stretch the bar forwards
  • With a barbell
  • In lying position

 




Chin-ups
Latziehen

 

Course of motion:

  • Chin up bar is hanging horizontally
  • Hands in upper grip (thumbs show to each other) and are slightly shoulder width apart
  • Legs hang loosely downwards or are crossed in the back
  • Slightly knee bending is possible
  • Pull body slowly and controlled upwards
  • Bring collarbone/chest near to the bar
  • Bend torso slightly backwards

 

Breathing:

  • Exhale while lifting the body
  • Inhale while lowering the body

 

Advices of proof:

  • Mind speed of course of motion (not too fast !)
  • Avoid distances of motion which are too short
  • Do not take a swing
  • Avoid a grip which is too wide opened
  • Do not extend arms while lowering the body
  • Tip: use training gloves for protection of hands and bar

 

Alternatives:

  • Behind the neck
  • In lower grip (thumbs show apart from each other)
  • On the lower bar (feet are leant on)
  • For advanced users: use of additional weigths, i.e. weighted vest

 

 

 

You can use versatile training equipment for exercising the trapezius muscle and to get a motivating and varied workout for shoulders and neck:

 



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