Prone Trap Raise Exercise Guide

Table Of Content

What Is A Prone Trap Raise?

The prone trap raise is a lying lower traps exercise. It is often used to improve posture through better scapular control (scapular = shoulder blade).

It can be a difficult movement to perform, so pay attention to the guidelines on how to do the prone trap raise and form tips below.

Due to the overactivity of the upper trap, the often neglected lower traps can frequently be inactive. This results in an imbalance of the upper body. This exercise helps against that imbalance and can make a massive difference for your posture.

It is important to perform the prone trap raise correctly and to not use too much upper trap involvement. Otherwise, it could worsen the imbalance.

How To Do A Prone Trap Raise

Don’t mind the five-minute length of the video, as it is important to know what to do to prevent and remedy posture imbalances.

Warm-Up & Performance

Always remember to warm up before exercising, especially for movements like these. Also, make sure to target the muscles you will be working on.

For the prone trap raise warm-up, start by moving your shoulders in circular motions in both directions to activate your shoulders.

After that, do the prone trap raise, beginning with no weights – just go through the motion and try to feel the targeted muscles, by using the correct form and not through strong activation of the upper trap or the delts.

Prone Trap Raise Form tips

  • Set up the incline bench angle between 30 and 45 degrees
  • For the beginning of the exercise keep your shoulder blades in a neutral position. Not rounding over or pulled too far back – find a middle ground.
  • When starting the exercise, lift the arms straight upwards, in a V shape (pointing at 10 and 2 o’clock). Your palms should face each other (neutral position) and even be slightly rotated to the ceiling.
  • During the movement, make sure to activate the targeted lower trap muscle and focus on keeping your shoulder blades back and down. Don’t let your shoulder roll forward at the bottom.
  • Restrict the lifting movement, if you feel the involvement of the upper traps (upper trap dominant) and delts. Here, you want to stop or correct the form. These are not the targeted muscles in this movement.
  • Finally, reverse the movement to the starting position.
  • When feeling the activation of the lower trap and the correct position of the shoulder blades ( back down and in), you are on the right way.


It is not recommended to overload with this exercise. Therefore, a high rep range is the right way to go.

Aim for a minimum of 15-20 reps, 3 – 5 sets with 1 – 2 minute rest time.

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Prone Trap Raise Mistakes To Avoid

Here are two common mistakes to avoid, when doing the prone trap raise:

Rotating The Arms Internally

This will activate and load the upper trap and reduce the involvement and load of the lower trap, and the targeted muscle of the prone trap raise.

This is important to prevent because that will worsen the imbalance of the upper body.

Use Of Heavy Weights And Low Repetitions

Keep in mind that the prone trap raise is improving a postural muscle, which is working consistently throughout the day.

This means the lower trap muscle is engaged for long periods. Not for a short amount of time only requiring short heavy reps or movements.

That’s why overloading this muscle is not recommended – aim for a minimum of 15-20 reps.

Prone Trap Raise Benefits

Here are two main benefits of the prone trap raise:

Improvement Of Posture

The prone trap raise is an effective exercise to improve posture and create stability in the upper body by training the often neglected lower traps. It makes a massive difference.

Poor posture does not look good and can likely lead to pain.

Overactive upper traps (upper trap dominant) and the resulting disposition of the shoulder blades (too far up) are a common cause of incorrect posture.

One reason for overactive traps is the involvement of upper traps in exercises, where they are not targeted. Due to poor technique.

Reduction Of Potential Shoulder Injuries

Rounding shoulders on the other hand can occur through an imbalance in anterior and posterior work – often too much front muscle work (delts and pecs) and less specific back movement and exercises, that would balance it out.

The prone trap raise remedies poor posture caused by overactive upper traps by working the lower traps, which pulls the shoulder blades down towards the spine.

Other back exercises that are beneficial for the improvement of posture, because of the targeted muscles, which are pulling the shoulder blades closer to the spine:

Improving Posture Through Core Exercises:

Reduction Of Potential Shoulder Injuries

Forward rounded shoulders can increase the potential of injury, due to the suboptimal position.

If your shoulders are rounded, try out to raise your arms above your head for once. Then do it again with your shoulder blades pulled down.

If your shoulder blades are back and down, much more range of motion is noticeable. This position of the shoulder blades enables the shoulder socket to open up.

The risk of shoulder impingements and potential injuries will therefore be reduced.

Prone Trap Raise Muscles Worked

As mentioned, one main muscle will be worked with this exercise:

Traps (Trapezius)

Performed correctly, this exercise will primarily work the lower traps. The function of this muscle is to put the shoulder blades (scapula) down and closer to the spine.

In the illustrated picture beside you can see the trap muscle in the back. If the lower fibers of the trap would lengthen and relax, you can imagine what would happen to the shoulder blades. The opposite will be achieved with this exercise.

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Prone Trap Raise Alternatives

Here are two prone trap raise alternatives with a cable system (cable machine):

Cable Y Raise

With both variations, make sure to use correct form and activation of the right muscle. Focus on pulling the shoulder blades back and down.

Here as well, a high rep range is recommended: 15-20 reps & 3-4 sets.

Final Thoughts

The prone trap raise is a great exercise to target the lower traps and improve posture and create stability in the back while reducing the risk of a shoulder injury in long term. Once in a while switch up your workout routine by using a prone trap raise alternative.

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