The Trapezius Muscle

The Trapezius Muscle

David Keil Anatomy, Upper Limb Leave a Comment

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Exploring The Trapezius Muscle

I’m not sure that there is any muscle as deeply integrated with movement of the scapula than the trapezius muscle. It is divided into three sections:The Trapezius Muscle

  • The upper trapezius
  • The middle trapezius
  • The lower trapezius

What does trapezius mean?

The name trapezius comes from the Greek word “trapeza” which means four-sided. Trapezius is named for its shape. When the left and right sides are paired, they form a trapezium. The trapezius composes the superficial layer of muscle on the back only partly covered by the large latissimus dorsi muscle.

Where does the trapezius muscle attach?

Origin of trapeziusThe Trapezius Muscle Attachments

The Upper Trapezius:

  • base of the occiput
  • ligamentum nuchae
  • spinous processes of vertebrae C1-C7

The Middle Trapezius

  • spinous processes of C7 – T3

The Lower Trapezius:

  • spinous processes of T4 – T12
Insertion of trapezius

The Upper Trapezius:

  • lateral clavicle and the acromion process

The Middle Trapezius:

  • spine of the scapula

The Lower Trapezius:

  • spine of the scapula

What actions does the trapezius muscle do?

All three sections of the trapezius help in upwardly rotating the scapula. This is possible because of the points of insertion. It helps to imagine a central point around which the scapula rotates and see that the muscular attachments are like ropes on a pulley.

The upper trapezius also does: Elevation

The middle trapezius also does: Retraction

The lower trapezius also does: Depression

What are the most common injuries to the trapezius?

The most common cause of pain in the trapezius is STRESS! Many people seem to carry their stress around in their shoulders. It’s not uncommon for the upper trapezius to be involved in headaches and torticollis (wry neck/waking up with a stiff neck). Trigger points in the trapezius can be particularly nasty and part of the headaches that are so common.

Postures where the trapezius muscle contracts:

trapezius muscle in utkatasana

Postures where the trapezius muscle lengthens:

trapezius muscle in ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana

The left arm is downwardly rotating lengthening the trapezius muscle.

Trigger points

Trigger Points in the Trapezius Muscle   Trigger Points in the Trapezius Muscle   Trigger Points in the Trapezius Muscle

Learn All of Your Muscles

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Join thousands of yogis when you sign up to our monthly newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Join thousands of yogis when you sign up to our monthly newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Check out our Online Courses and Workshops

c-yoga-anatomy-course-main
  • Enhance your practice
  • Fine tune your teaching skills
  • Go deeper into anatomy and yoga

Related Posts

Popular Posts

About David Keil

This website is simply about delivering yoga anatomy to the yoga community in a simple and understandable way. It has always been about you, the reader, understanding the complexity and diversity of our own humanness as well as our anatomy.

Follow us on:

Leave a Reply