The Trapezius muscles, popularly known as “traps”, are muscles part of your shoulder girdle. It functions as a base for moving and rotating your shoulder blades, extends your neck, and stabilizes your arms. So no, it’s not just “that muscle in the shoulders” or “that muscle that makes you look massive.”
Traps are basically one of the most used muscles by the body therefore making it prone to stress and tension much more than other muscles. This is particularly true of the upper part of the traps in your lower neck area. The stress brought on to your traps can cause them to tighten and provide discomfort and plenty of pain for at least one day.
Do you have tight traps? Do you want to avoid suffering from tight traps? We got you covered. We at Fit Engine prepared these 5 Quick And Easy Exercises Guaranteed To Loosen Tight Traps. These can all be done at the comforts of your own home with just a yoga mat.
1. Ear to Shoulder
Bend your neck to the side by taking your left ear towards your left shoulder. It’s natural for your left shoulder to lift as you do this. If that happens, ease your head back toward center until you can relax your left shoulder back down. Do this slowly and with ease specially for those who are already experiencing tightness in their trapezius.
Now tuck your chin towards your chest. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, and relax. You can use your hand to gently assist. This will allow you to feel a stretch at the back and side of your neck.
2. Crocodile Pose
Lie down on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart, and rest your hands one on top of the other under your chin. When you’re in place, lie flat and rest your forehead on your stacked hands. This exercise may not look much but it will actually release lower back compression as well as lengthening your spine and releasing any tension in your upper back and neck.
Once you’re in proper position, breathe deeply and relax.
This pose will help you release tension from your lower neck and trapezius while simultaneously stretching your throat. This will also maximize spine flexibility while strengthening both your back and arms which will prevent future trapezius tightening.
To do the Cobra pose, lift your head and place your hands on the floor next to your shoulders, keeping your arms parallel and your elbows close to your body. Press the tops of your feet into the floor and inhale deeply as you begin to lift your head and chest. If possible, straighten your arms and keep in mind that straightening them completely will arch your back quite a bit.
Whether you lift all the way to straight arms or not, keep in mind you want your neck and head to be on the same curve. You will lift your head as well, but you want to simply ease it up. Don’t force the lift.
Check your chin. It’s incredibly common to jut your chin out in this and let your shoulders creep up toward your ears, so take a moment to roll your shoulders back and down, pulling your shoulder blades closer together as you pull your torso through your upper arms, and ease your chin back.
Hold this for a few breaths and release on an exhale.
Inhale as you lift into this pose at least two more times, holding it for a little bit longer each time.
4. Cat-Cow Pose
This pose relieves tension in your cervical spine and stretches your back muscles as well as the front of your torso. Keep in mind that when using this pose specifically for your trapezius, you want to focus on the area right between your upper shoulder blades and alternately arching and releasing your neck.
To start, push up onto all fours, into a tabletop position. Your hips should be directly over your knees, your shoulders over your elbows, and your elbows over your wrists. As you inhale, lift your head, chest, and sitting bones, letting your belly sink, and arching your back. As you exhale, round your spine toward the sky and release your head into Cat Pose.
Continue taking deep breaths, moving with your breath as you do, inhaling as you arch your back and exhaling as you round your back.
5. Wide-Leg Forward Fold
This pose decompresses your spine, strengthens your upper back and shoulders, and lengthens and eases your neck muscles.
Push to standing and, keeping your feet parallel, widen your stance to approximately a leg’s length. With your hands on your hips, release your torso and slowly bend forward, keeping all four corners of your feet rooted. If you feel unstable in this pose, bend your knees slightly and release your hands to the ground, shoulder-width apart.
After you feel full rooted in this forward bend, interlace your hands behind your back, hug your shoulder blades in, and release your hands toward the floor.
When you go back to starting position, put your hands on your hips and lift as you inhale. This prevents you from falling over and provides enough air for you not to suddenly drop due to the blood rushing back to your head.