Overactive upper traps

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KPj
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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by KPj » Tue May 10, 2011 8:51 am

Don't blame the exercise. Blame the exerciser.....

It's a rare occasion that I can start someone out on single leg deadlifts. Single leg deadlifts are an amazing exercise but, if you're not ready for them, they'll look real messy and hurt you rather than help. Sounds like your weight shifts forward and you round the back. A lot of people can't deadlift on 2 legs with an empty light/small bar never mind one.

I'll have people do step ups and static lunges way before single leg deadlifts. Even just a static lunge (split squat) can take weeks to clean up to a point i'm happy with it, and a lot of people, particularly untrained and elderly, could take months before you can get them to do a good static lunge.

If I were you, I would scrap most of the details and go back to basics, and re build your squat, with bodyweight, and deadlifts with an empty bar to teach the hip hinge.

For the squat, use a box or step to sit BACK onto. Keep your weight back on your heels. Use a stance that's atleast shoulder width, probably a little wider, point toes slightly. Just think "hips back, knees out", all the way until you touch the step. HOlding a light DB at your chest can be good to force you to keep the chest up without having to think about it. You'll probably get to a certain depth and feel the need to fall back. Just limit the depth to just above where this happens, and keep working on the "hips back, knees out" technique until if feels more natural. This may take a few sessions or even just a few reps. I've had times where i've literally kicked the step away mid set and the client will squat maintaining perfect form for an extra 6 inches or so. This is just learning how to use your hips vs knees to squat, and learning to use your glutes and hamstrings in a squat. Don't worry about depth at first, just get that movement right - hips back, knees out.

For deadlifts, grab an empty bar or broomstick. Stand about 1 foot from a wall with your back to. Hold the bar and get an upright militant posture. Now touch the wall with your a$$. Do it a few times paying attention to maintaining the arch in your lower back. Then move forward, and repeat. This is the "hip hinge". This is what a deadlift actually us, and it's also the "missing link" in your squat - you're ability to use the hips....

Before thinking about much else for your lower body, I would master these 2 movements, and see how it goes.

KPj

carlito
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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by carlito » Tue May 10, 2011 10:31 am

KPj wrote:Don't blame the exercise. Blame the exerciser.....

It's a rare occasion that I can start someone out on single leg deadlifts. Single leg deadlifts are an amazing exercise but, if you're not ready for them, they'll look real messy and hurt you rather than help. Sounds like your weight shifts forward and you round the back. A lot of people can't deadlift on 2 legs with an empty light/small bar never mind one.

I'll have people do step ups and static lunges way before single leg deadlifts. Even just a static lunge (split squat) can take weeks to clean up to a point i'm happy with it, and a lot of people, particularly untrained and elderly, could take months before you can get them to do a good static lunge.

If I were you, I would scrap most of the details and go back to basics, and re build your squat, with bodyweight, and deadlifts with an empty bar to teach the hip hinge.

For the squat, use a box or step to sit BACK onto. Keep your weight back on your heels. Use a stance that's atleast shoulder width, probably a little wider, point toes slightly. Just think "hips back, knees out", all the way until you touch the step. HOlding a light DB at your chest can be good to force you to keep the chest up without having to think about it. You'll probably get to a certain depth and feel the need to fall back. Just limit the depth to just above where this happens, and keep working on the "hips back, knees out" technique until if feels more natural. This may take a few sessions or even just a few reps. I've had times where i've literally kicked the step away mid set and the client will squat maintaining perfect form for an extra 6 inches or so. This is just learning how to use your hips vs knees to squat, and learning to use your glutes and hamstrings in a squat. Don't worry about depth at first, just get that movement right - hips back, knees out.

For deadlifts, grab an empty bar or broomstick. Stand about 1 foot from a wall with your back to. Hold the bar and get an upright militant posture. Now touch the wall with your a$$. Do it a few times paying attention to maintaining the arch in your lower back. Then move forward, and repeat. This is the "hip hinge". This is what a deadlift actually us, and it's also the "missing link" in your squat - you're ability to use the hips....

Before thinking about much else for your lower body, I would master these 2 movements, and see how it goes.

KPj
Ok I'm gonna focus on improving those 2, along with the stretches and other things. Just tried to do them, the squats I felt like I got a little better on them, just a few queries I have on them. One being are my ankles supposed to constantly flex (dorsiflex), It seems like they are having to stop all my weight falling back. Also I tend to have to lean forward, is this right? the back doesn't seem to round when I do this now though.

Onto the deadlifts, my hamstrings seem to stop my ass from reaching the wall, I have to get alot closer than a foot away, should I continue this exercise? Possibly just doing it closer?

Also I think you were right about lack of thoracic extension, after I did some foam roller stuff, I could bend over much more easily, just felt right, despite being painful at first.

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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by Jungledoc » Tue May 10, 2011 11:34 am

carlito wrote:Ok I'm gonna focus on improving those 2, along with the stretches and other things. Just tried to do them, the squats I felt like I got a little better on them, just a few queries I have on them. One being are my ankles supposed to constantly flex (dorsiflex), It seems like they are having to stop all my weight falling back. Also I tend to have to lean forward, is this right? the back doesn't seem to round when I do this now though.

Onto the deadlifts, my hamstrings seem to stop my ass from reaching the wall, I have to get alot closer than a foot away, should I continue this exercise? Possibly just doing it closer?

Also I think you were right about lack of thoracic extension, after I did some foam roller stuff, I could bend over much more easily, just felt right, despite being painful at first.
You may have to do some ankle stretching to get increased dorsiflexion. Yes, you have to lean forward to stay balanced. The bar will stay directly above the mid-point of your feet. The "hip-hinge" means the knees stay straight, the butt goes back and the trunk stays straight (neutral spine, no rounding of the lower back) and leans forward. That's what the wall exercise is supposed to teach. Eventually you will reach a limit of how far back your hips can go without the knees bending. The weight should stay on the heels, and they should not come off the floor.

carlito
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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by carlito » Wed May 11, 2011 9:15 am

Ok, just one more question I've got about the squats, deadlifts and touch toe progressions, they all involve posterior weight shifting, when I do it I find my toes are off the floor and I'm in constant dorsiflexion, is this ok? or does the weight need to be shifted just enough not to lift the front of the foot?

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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by Jungledoc » Wed May 11, 2011 10:05 am

Your weight should primarily on your heels, but enough forward that your toes aren't coming off the floor. Most people have the opposite problem, and keep their weight on their toes.

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Re: Overactive upper traps

Post by carlito » Fri May 13, 2011 5:37 am

Probably because I'm trying too hard too shift my weight postereilly :error: . I'm finding the idea of knees out and shift weight to heels quite contradicting right now, so far I can get my knees just about parralel in a squat and then I fall, I'll perservere though.

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