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Trap Development

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:00 am
by KPj
I have been looking for exercises that will bring out my Traps, however, I refer to the whole muscle, not just the upper Traps e.g shrugs.

Was wondering if any one knew any exercises that could target them? Their seems so be some debate over upright rows - I have been told that they target your upper back but on this site i'm sure it says shoulders, when performing them I can feel it on upper back and shoulders so not sure about that one?

Also heard that Power Cleans can bring out the Traps but i'm not sure about this either and have yet to try.

The reason I want to target them is because I have been able to increase thickness in my lower to middle back (the 'christmas tree' part) and I anticipate this part of my back out growing my upper back....

Anyone got any advice?



Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:52 am
by TimD
Well, just about anything that involves scapula retracion or shoulder elevation requires the traps. In shoulder elevation, the traps works along with the deltoids to cause the motion. Case in point, the simple movement of the clean and press requires shoulder elevation and a shrug movement, then shoulder elevation and a pressing movement. Hits the shoulders and traps quite hard, not to mention the triceps. Seeing as the upright row is just a half a version of a power clean, well, yes, it works both the traps and delts. The only thing I will say about the upright ow in the way of caution, is that a narrow grip is hard on my wrists, and doesn't seem to transfer well to my basic pulling well, however, with a grip thats about shoulder width or wider, no problems, I love them.
Now, your basic rowing movements hit the lower and mid traps quite hard. If you are doing those, I see no reason to try to target it, however, I have seen some PL types lie face towards the board on a 45-60 degree incline bench, and o shrugs in that position. Personally, I think it's over kill.
Hope this gives you some ideas.

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 6:28 am
by Guest
Thanks for the reply.

I think I understand what you are saying and from this I have a question, and hope its not a stupid one at that.

You said anything that involves scapula retraction works the traps. In laymans terms, I take this to mean your shoulders moving back and forward e.g shrugs only I would class the shrug movement as 'up and down.'

So my question is;

If i were to perform a row, say a seated row using a machine or bent over barbell row, if I were to restrict the movement in an attempt to isolate the part of the exercise which hits the traps, do you think this would be effective?

The movement being - Starting from full stretch (shoulders forward arms straight) then bringing the arms slightly towards the body(bending them only slightly), but squeezing the shoulders back, then back to full stretch so the exercise would then have range of motion of about 6 inches. Basically a shrug with your arms pointing away from your body, infront of you, as opposed to by your side like the traditional shrug. Would this target the middle/lower Traps?



Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 8:16 am
by TimD
Hi. I understand your question, and no, it's not stupid at all. Yes, should work fine. Get in the ow postion, and squeeze the blades together without the arm bending. I forget the guys name, he used to write for the old Ion Man magazine, back when Peary Rader was the editor in chief and owner, but he said to do it with all types of moves, i.e a "shrug:/squeeze at the top of a bench press, in a row, etc.

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:00 am
by TimD
Just remembered the guys name and the name of the book. Paul Kelso, and the book is "The Kelso Shrug System". Lots of interesting ideas in there involving shrugs/squeezes in various positions.

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:45 am
by KPj
Thanks again for the reply. Exactly the info I was looking for.


Trap Development

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:33 am
by Stephen Johnson
Speaking of trap development - upper, middle and lower - there is an artiicle in Iron Man magazine that covers it

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:43 pm
by Matt Z
Rather than trying to isolate your lower and middle traps, you might have better luck simply by focusing on this area while performing ordinary rowing movements. For Example, while doing Seated Cable Rows draw your shoulderblades back and flex hard at the top of the movement. Try to hold the weight there for at least a second or two before lowering it. You may have to go a little lighter to accomplish this.

Another tip. Use a narrow grip on rows to fully stretch the midback, and a wide grip for a full peak contraction. With dumbbell and/or hammer strength rows you can get both in one movement.


Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:06 am