In the case of shoulder pain and dysfunction, the lower trapezius and serrates anterior are often implicated as part of the problem. Research has shown that these two muscles often fatigue and don’t contribute equally to the force couple between them and the upper trapezius that facilitates upward rotation of the scapula.
Building scapular stabilization and dynamic stability is a must for those doing repetitive overhead activities such as throwing, swimming, serving, or work-related tasks. It is a given that asymmetries will exist, so optimizing the strength of the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers is paramount to prevent injury and recover from overuse syndromes.
To strengthen the lower trapezius, one of my ‘go to’ exercises is the lower trap raise. It can be done with just the weight of your arms or using light dumbbells. The link below includes the full description for the exercise, and I also embedded the video below.
In the next column, I will include a serratus anterior exercise using a kettle bell as a follow-up to this post.