Latin: Trapezius muscle
English: trapezius muscle

Synergists: Rhomboid muscles, levator scapulae muscles
Antagonists: serratus anterior muscle, pectoralis minor muscle


The trapezius muscle is colored purple in this illustration and is particularly important for shoulder movements.

The trapezius muscle (musculus trapezius) located in the area of ​​the neck and upper back is divided into three differently strong sections. As a result, the trapezius is assigned three different functions. The thinner descending part, the strong, up to 2 cm thick transverse part, which covers the upper bone muscle, the small rhomboid muscle and the large rhombus muscle, and the sloping part below, which covers the upper part of the broad back muscle.



  • Outer third of the collarbone (Externalis acromialis)
  • Shoulder height (Acromion)
  • Scapula bone (spina scapulae)


  • External occipital roughness (Protuberantia occipitalis externa)
  • Spinous processes of all cervical and thoracic vertebrae

Innervation: Accessor nerve, cervical plexus (C 2 - 4)


The trapezius muscle (Musculus trapezius) has different effects due to the individual sections and the almost opposite direction of action of the muscles Functions on. The descending part, especially in the Bodybuilding is exercised, raises the shoulders. At the same time, it prevents the shoulders from hanging down too far when carrying heavy loads. The contraction of the sloping part causes the shoulder blades to merge. The ascending part is responsible for lowering the shoulder and raising the trunk with the arms fixed.

Figure trapezius

Figure trapezius muscle ((Musculus trapezius): chest seen from behind (A) and from the side (B).

Trapezius muscle (hood muscle)
(Trapezius muscle)

  1. Trapezius -
    (1a. + 1b. + 1c.)
    Trapezius muscle
    1a. Descending part -
    Pars descendens
    1b. Crossing part -
    (7th cervical vertebra to 3rd thoracic vertebra)
    Pars transversa
    1c. Ascending part -
    (4th to 12th thoracic vertebrae)
    Pars ascendens
  2. Scapula bone -
    Spina scapulae
  3. shoulder blade -
  4. Spinous process (cervical vertebra) -
    Spinous process
  5. Collarbone - Clavicle
  6. Spinous process (thoracic vertebra) - Spinous process

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

common illnesses

A slightly forward and lower shoulder can be an indication of paralysis of the trapezius muscle. There is no need to secure the shoulder blade to the spine.

Strengthening and stretching

Since the muscle has different functions, it must also be trained differently.

The descending part is increasingly trained in bodybuilding. This is particularly suitable for this part Shoulder raises.

The transverse part is especially important in Back insulator burdened.

An isolated training of the ascending part does not take place.

For detailed information on this topic, visit our Back training theme

How is the muscle stretched?

In the described stretching exercise, only the descending part of the Trapezius Referenced. The head is tilted to the side as shown in the illustration. The arm on the opposite side can provide light support.

More information is available at Stretching