Weak Low Traps or Serratus Can Cause Shoulder Pain

Athletes with rotator cuff tendinopathy tend to display lower activation levels of the low trap and serratus anterior compared to the upper trap.

A new study examined 43 volleyball players to determine if any muscle imbalances existed in those who exhibited rotator cuff tendinopathy in comparison to asymptomatic controls.  The researchers found that those who had rotator cuff tendinopathy had a more difficult time activating crucial muscles of the scapula, including low trap and serratus.  Those who were successfully able to recruit the low trap and serratus muscles possessed significantly more upward scapular rotation.


The low traps and serratus are two extremely important muscles for the health of the shoulder joints and all exercise routines should incorporate exercises for these two crucial muscles.


Leong, H. T., Ng, G. Y. F., Chan, S. C., & Fu, S. N. (2017). Rotator cuff tendinopathy alters the muscle activity onset and kinematics of scapula. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology.