From my personal opinion, there’s something about the separation between the shoulder and the trapezius that makes the perfect human figure stand out. Of course no human body is perfectly proportioned but it can’t hurt to try right?
The trapezius muscle is located on the top of your back, spanning across to your shoulders and down the center of your spine in almost a diamond- like shape. What most people don’t know is that the traps make up about 35% of your back’s total muscle mass! This seems like a great reason to focus more on training this muscle itself, don’t ya think?
The trapezius muscle originates from the Occipital Bone in your neck (base of the skull) and extends downward to your Lower Thoracic Vertebrae. Sideways, it spans from shoulder blade to shoulder blade and covers most of the upper back. The traps not only function as a muscle of the back, but are also considered a variable in many shoulder movements as well.
Training these bad boys should be approached similarly to any other muscle. In order for a muscle to grow, the stress put upon it must be greater than what it is accustomed. The traps are very easy to stimulate, however a lot of work must be put in for the growth process to kick into effect.
ISOLATION here is key. Many compound movements like deadlifts or military press won’t complement the traps natural movement. However, I’ve experienced great gains and soreness in my traps from just doing seated rows. To target this muscle completely, only a couple exercises will do the job: Shrugs and Upright Rows. It’s important to remember that when doing these exercises, never use a weight that you can’t complete at least 6 reps with. It is not worth the possible injury, so grab around 75% of your one rep max and rep out at least 10 if not more!
Your traps should be feeling pretty intense by this point. Remember that FEELING is number one priority here. An example of this would be to hold the contraction on the UP phase of the movement, and then lower the weight in a slow, controlled fashion. Creating that Mind/Muscle connection can be the difference between an amazing workout, and just an average session.
To further enhance your trap stimulation, treat your arms as levers on a machine. Do not allow them to shift the tension or bend at the elbows. This will keep the traps working hard by themselves without recruiting any unnecessary muscles.
For trap training routines, I suggest combining them either on shoulder day, (which is most popular) or you can do train them after chest (My personal favorite). I’ll explain this later in another article!
Knowledge is everything! So train hard, and I’ll catch you guys later.
Summary with credit to: Permanent Muscle by Reuben Bajada. The Poliquin Principles by Charles Poliquin. ACEFitness.org