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The Trapezius is part of the group of muscles which control the shoulder girdle and is divided into parts; upper, middle and lower.

  • Part 1: Upper fibres of the cervical vertebrae. This is the weakest part of the muscle and only provides minor elevation of the clavicle
  • Part 2: The area commonly known as upper trapz. This is a strong elevator, rotator and retractor of the scapula
  • Part 3: The mid-portion of the Trapzius. These fibres are mainly responsible for scapula retraction
  • Part 4: The lower fibres of Trapezius. This part of the muscle assists in retraction and rotation.

When all parts of the muscle work together they have the effect of simultaneously elevating and retracting the scapula. The Trapezius is used most commonly to fix the scapula to allow the Deltoid to move the Humerus.


  • Base of skull
  • Ligaments cervical (upper) spine
  • Spinous processes of Cervical 7 to Thoracic 12 vertibrae


  • Posterior outer 1/3 of the clavicle
  • Acromion process
  • Spine of the scapula


  • Elevate the Scapula
  • Retract the Scapula
  • Upward rotation of the scapula

Which nerve supplies the muscle?

  • Cranial nerve

Daily uses

  • Shrugging the shoulders
  • Overhead movements or the arm

Trapezius muscle

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