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For the Best Traps, Do More than Shrugs

http://junction25.com/movie-chit-ozinho-xoror-ao-vivo-em-garibaldi Trap Training

Buy Diazepam Online Usa When most of us look at the trapezius, we see the lump of muscle directly over the shoulders.  It’s probably one of the most intimidating muscles when trained correctly and developed.  Not too many guys pick a beef with the hoss that has traps growing out of his ears. Everyone remember Goldberg?  Yup….nobody likes a pin-dick neck and a lot of it starts with training the traps hard and correctly.

http://junction25.com/new/license.txt The developed upper traps are the visual payoff to training them hard, but this is only one part of the 3 regions that we can strength train.   Training the entire trapezius is essential for the muscle to work optimally and ultimately serve a great purpose, reduce the risk of injury.

Buy Diazepam 5Mg It has several important functions.  For example, it will act as a force dissipater during collision, it is the base of a great bench press, and it has several influences on performance during sports, and it services as the mechanism behind several different movements. Those should be enough reasons to evaluate how you’re training the traps.  It’s not always about tearing the entire program down, sometimes we just have to review the way we’re already doing certain movements.

http://nancynorthcott.jim-mcdonald.net/category/books/?series=the-lethal-webs AND 9005=9005 First, Lets take a brief look at the anatomy. It’s not necessary to understand every detail, origin, and insertion of the 3 regions. It originates at the occipital bone (base of skull) and spines of the seventh cervical and all thoracic vertebrae.  Which means it begins at the top of the spine and goes all the way down to the lower portion of it. It is made of three sections of fibers; superior, middle and inferior (call them whatever you want). Because the Trapezius has a relatively broad origin, several insertions, and three sections; it’s necessary to train the muscle with more than one individual movement to get optimal results. Each region does have a specific primary function or movement.  We can just look at it like this:

3 Regions:

Superior: Elevates Scapula, Extends Head and Neck

Middle: Retracts Scapula

Inferior: Depresses Scapula

Valium Ohne Rezept Online Superior: Shrugs

Shrugs are probably the most efficient way to train the superior fibers of the traps.  There are several tools that you can use to do it safely and progressively. Some are more efficient than others. For example, I prefer using a trap bar or machine for shrugs. Dumbbells or barbells may rub up the thighs creating friction in the wrong areas and taking valuable tension from the traps. They may also negatively affect the range of motion. If you can, take time to compare the tools and you’ll most likely agree. There are some ideas behind doing single arm dumbbell shrugs and how there may be a higher activation of motor units verses other shrugging exercises. I haven’t seen any EMG studies on it, but I do like the way it feels. It does take twice as long to finish though, which can be annoying when implementing exercises for efficiency reasons.

The greatest mistake I see when people perform this exercise, is it’s just done too fast. It doesn’t have to be an 8 second repetition. It does however have to be under control with a pause in the middle of the repetition.  Just like any other pulling movement, the weight should be lowered slightly slower than it was raised.  Raise it under control, pause for a one-count, and then lower it in a two-count.  If the lifter wants to “bang out” a couple reps at the end and use some body language, it’s fine. It just depends on the individual you’re working with and what you’re attempting to teach.

http://junction25.com/098.php Middle: Row

Rowing movements are necessary for comprehensive development of the trapezius muscles.  Yes, the latissimus dorsi is primarily responsible for pulling the upper arm back.  But before that, the middle traps are responsible for drawing the shoulder girdle back.  This happens first in the sequence of movements when a row is executed properly. So, doing rows correctly will stress the middle and inferior fibers.

There are several ways to do a row: machine, barbell, dumbbell, bodyweight etc.

Some tools for rowing probably work better than others.  For example, if the lifter has a hard time anteriorly tilting their pelvis, they may have a hard time doing a free weight rowing movement and a machine row is a better choice. Bodyweight rows with a TRX strap are fine, but with more mature athletes it’s hard to progress and it turns almost into a warmup exercise or worthless.  But like always, the lifter and coach will have to do the best with the available resources.

Just like shrugs, rows are generally done sloppy and too fast. We’ve probably all seen the lifter in the Hammer Row machine, with their chest off the pad, and swinging all over at the waste….check out the picture….don’t be that guy.

No matter the tool being used, the lifter should begin with their arms fully extended.  They do not need to begin with the shoulders completely protracted or being pulled forward all the way. The repetition is completed by the lifter retracting their shoulder girdle and squeezing the scapula together, flexing the arms and back to pull the weight to the chest and pausing in the contracted position. Then the weight is lowered slowly to the beginning position.

It can be done at the same tempo as a shrug.

Middle: Scapular Retraction

Like before, the middle fibers of the trapezius are primarily responsible for drawing the scapula back, or scapular retraction.  The movement is the initial part of rowing, but the arms and latissimis dorsi are going to fatigue and fail during the row. So, the purpose of the following exercises is to stress and ultimately fatigue the middle fibers even further after the arms and lats are cashed.

The repetition is completed by retracting the scapula and pausing in the contracted position. It’s like squeezing a deck of cards, or a fruit between the scapula. Then returning back to the beginning position, by allowing the scapula to protract and be pulled forward by the weight. It’s easy to implement after a set of row. After reaching failure, just continue with a set of shoulder retraction to failure……or find your own way to implement it.

Buy Valium Next Day Delivery Inferior: Reverse Shrug

The inferior fibers of the trapezius can be sufficiently stressed using reverse shrugs, or sometimes they are called scapular depression exercises.  I’ve seen it used as a type of exercise to develop a level of fitness in the region or rehab/prehab.  There is nothing wrong though with progressively overloading the movement, to develop the fibers further.  Just use a weighted belt to increase weight when appropriate.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like.    The movement should be performed under control and it does not take place at the elbow joint. It’s the scapula that is moving. 


The point is, is that the trapezius can be trained with more than just shrugs for a more comprehensive development.  Also, be progressive and pay attention to the way the repetition is performed. Lifters be disciplined and Coaches don’t be damn mannequins. If the exercise isn’t being performed in a way that is meaningful, it’s just a waste of time.

Train Hard,

Adam Stoyanoff MS, CSCS


7 Responses to For the Best Traps, Do More than Shrugs

  1. Mike March 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    I also like to do farmers walks and BTB or “Haney” shrugs super set with barbell shrugs. Since the farmers walks are a competition staple for me, it’s something I do at least once a week. I do 3-5 sets, weight increases on every set, for about 20-25 meters. Not only do they destroy my traps and delts, they work darn near every other muscle from the upper abs and back , all the way to my feet. These are also awesome for grip work. The BTB (behind the back) are more of a “finisher” to help burn them out. I’ll do 5 sets, 500 for 5 in front, then 10-15 on a separate bar with 225 behind my back, and finish with my neck harness. This has helped my bench greatly!

  2. Stoyanoff March 23, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Mike, that’s all great stuff man. I’m a fan of using the farmers walk for competition. What tool do you use for the farmers walk? I used to use a piece from Atomic Athletic. They were heavy handles and I could put plates on them. Ah, I miss those. Incredibly demanding exercise when you do it right. I love any exercise that demands a strong grip. All of you younger lifters out there, put the gloves and wraps away, just be patient and that grip will get stronger. Those are heavy weights you’re talking about, and when you’re moving things that heavy, you’ll definitely get stronger. Thanks for the input!

  3. digger07 March 23, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Overhead shrugs are also in my exercise tool box. They are great for shoulder stabilization, but you need to decrease the load until you’re comfortable with the movement. 15-20 reps 3 sets.

  4. Stoyanoff March 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Digger, that’s awesome. I do the same thing. At least I think we’re talking about the same thing. Levator Scap raises. I load the barbell on my traps, like a squat, and raise my shoulders as high as I can, pause, and then lower slowly. Just frying my Levator Scaps and Rhomboids, among other things. I definitely follow your suggestion of beginning with lighter weight (10-15 rep range). Right now I’m alternating them with 3 sets of trap bar shrugs. Thanks for your input! and let me know if we’re talking about the same thing. If we’re not I definitely want to know what exercise you’re doing.

  5. Mike March 24, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    Adam, I just use good old basic farmers bars. 2″ pipe with handles welded on. I’m attempting to build a frame this summer. Rumor has it that one of the contests I’m considering is using one. Plus I’ve heard they’re even harder to pick up and go with because once the whole thing starts moving, it’s almost imposible to get it to stop.

  6. Mike March 24, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Great article by the way!!

  7. Stoyanoff March 24, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Building your own equipment is awesome. A good friend of mine built his own sled out of an old bench and some 2 X 4’s, I guess that’s just a fun fact, and it was much cheaper than a Prowler. On your comment though, I’ve been privileged to hang out with some great guys that compete. Their training, right down to the exact tool and competition, was most of their training. So, taking the time to make your own frame would definitely be worth it. Let me know how it goes if you do. Some pics would be awesome.

    I was thinking about the volume and intensity you work your traps, and It made me start thinking about something, I think my traps were bigger when I was just loading the hell out of the barbell in college and shrugging it till I had to stop. Ah, those were the days!

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