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Timy7

lower and mid trap exercises?

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Timy7

I saw another poster reference these and was curious if anyone could give me some examples or why you need to work on these areas?

I would really appreciate the help, my google fu is weak

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Cole Dano

Lower traps depress and retract the scapula.

Think of how many of the excesses we do require this action.

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RatioFitness

37RedK9F3XM

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Donar

Lower traps (aka trap 3)

For mid trap, try bulgarian ring rows with depressed shoulders (important!)

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AlexX

Lower traps (Scapular depression) - Prone trap raises, Scapular Depression with band, Wall Slides, Behind the neck band pull downs and a strict straight arm pull down.

Middle (Retraction) - Rowing, face pulls, rear delt flyes, and prone trap raises once again (they work both)

Why you want work them? For one proper shoulder position and posture, pretty hard to maintain one without having balanced traps (as well as other retractors). Most people are pretty strong in scapular elevation and very weak in depression and retraction. Plus having proper posture instantly makes people awesome :D

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Timy7

Thank you guys for all the responses.

donar- Bulgarian ring rows with shoulders depressed as in say should blades pulled back pressing chest out right?

Lots of info guys much appreciated.

Where should one put these exercises in their routine? Say prehab and warmup?

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AlexX
Thank you guys for all the responses.

donar- Bulgarian ring rows with shoulders depressed as in say should blades pulled back pressing chest out right?

That would be retracted, depressed means pulled downward, the opposite of shrugging them up. But they should be retracted as well (what you described).

I usually put them at the end of my routine or superset them with other exercises. They can be inserted anywhere though but I would only put them in the warm up if you are just doing activations drills (meaning light intensity) otherwise your retractors will be too tired to retract during other work.

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Cole Dano

Good point Alex! I'm also doing my 'heavy' scap work after the main workout for the same reason.

Since i have lots of bands, i use them for the most part. You can simulate most of the dumbbell exercises with a little creativity. For scap work if find the rubberiness of the bands very agreeable.

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AlexX
Good point Alex! I'm also doing my 'heavy' scap work after the main workout for the same reason.

Since i have lots of bands, i use them for the most part. You can simulate most of the dumbbell exercises with a little creativity. For scap work if find the rubberiness of the bands very agreeable.

I have to second bands for scap work. I like them a lot better than dumbbells for these exercises.

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Donar

donar- Bulgarian ring rows with shoulders depressed as in say should blades pulled back pressing chest out right?

Like AlexX said, what you are describing is retraction. Please take a look here:

http://www.exrx.net/Articulations/Scapula.html

You want your shoulders to be depressed because if you're shoulders are elevated (opposite of depression), you'll use your upper trapezius too much.

You can try it right now. Just simulate a bulgarian row type of movement. Try it with shoulders elevated. You'll feel your upper trapezius contracting. Try it again with shoulders depressed. It will mostly be your mid trapezius & rhomboids.

At the very end of the range of motion, you want your shoulders to be fully retracted. In my opinion, you do not have to keep your shoulder blades retracted throughout the whole movement.

I think these movements should be treated as strength exercises. Where you put them in your routine depends on the routine you follow. Obviously, you have to be very diligent with form on these movements.

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Alex Dienaar

To improve your posture, strengthening your scapular depression and retraction. Which are severly lacking in most people nowadays, leading to inhibition of strength on almost any upperbody related movement. (Pullups with rounded shoulders, dips with shoulders rolling forward)

The external rotator strength is also inhibited through weakness of the retractors and depressors, almost any upper body movements that involve these motions are immediately alot weaker than they should be. Or it allows you to get through for a while with flawed technique (no depression/retraction of the scapula on pullups, no strong effort on retracting on the Front Lever, very weak stabilisation on the rings (shoulders rolling forward/unable to depress them/unable to keep chest upright in L-sit).

The Lower Trapezius muscles also work their role in upward rotation of the scapulae (think Handstands/overhead pressing/handstand pushups and the likes) and will limit range of motion/strength in those positions as well.

Not having an upright torso and proper posture (shoulders retracted and depressed) also makes you jump less high, makes you slower on accelerating in sprints and the list goes on and on.

(I just realized this post is pretty depressing)

(Sorry, couldn't help myself!)

Bottom line : Check if it's a problem and fix it! If you're having problems with the range of motion for Lower Trap raises/retraction, work on mobilizing it first. Then strengthen it through the exercises shown below.

Bulgarian Rows are some of the best for the retractors, while anything involving severe depression of the scapula is great for the lower trap (Support holds where you push down HARD, as hard as you can, thinking about pushing yourself from the planet. Hanging from a bar and pulling yourself up without bending your arms). Eventually you progress that into movements like the dip and the Pullup,s (with your shoulderblades depressed through the entire ROM) before you know it you'll have great depression.

The upward rotation effect from the lower traps are usually a bit more tricky, most people I have trained lack the range of motion to train it properly. Start off by mobilizing by PNF stretching the arm overhead in external rotation (palms up), if this is vague, PM me and I'll link you to a video. Throw in some activation work if needed, google the Reach, Roll and Lift by Gray Cook. And after start hitting the Trap-3 raises 3-5 times per week (Yes, that often.) Until you're at about 7-10kg a hand.

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Ortprod

Glad to see this information is becoming more popular. Great post.

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AlexX
Glad to see this information is becoming more popular. Great post.

The funny part is that it isn't really anything new. Upper back training used to be a major focus in old time strongman books, just fell out of favor over the years.

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Andreas Magneshaugen Ullerud

I have been wanting to put prone trap raises in my routine for a while now, but i have big issues with the ROM on left arm. The right is pretty good and i feel the exercise working in the right place, but on the left i can't even get my arm up to chin level. My ROM in external rotation is also subpar compared to my right, I guess the problems might be connected.

Does anyone know what muscles might be restricting my ROM in these movements and some stretches that will help. I hate asking more questions since that i basically the only thing i've been doing since a joined this forum, but this has been a BIG problem for a while.

Thanks, Andreas :D .

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Quick Start Test Smith

(I just realized this post is pretty depressing)

(Sorry, couldn't help myself!)

lol! :lol::mrgreen:

There's an exercise I like to do for extra scapula work. I just get into a row position and lock my arms out straight while letting my shoulder blades pull apart because of gravity. Then I depress my shoulder blades, relax, and repeat. I don't know how good it is, but it makes my shoulders and traps feel good.

Edit: It's like the opposite of a push up plus.

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Alexander Castiglione

I know this an old thread but figured I'd try - 

I'm working on a press to handstand, and feel like my mid and lower traps are lacking. I have tried supine floor flexions with a weighted bar, but was hoping there was some more accessory work out there to augment my efforts. Please let me know. Thanks! 

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Alessandro Mainente

if the press to handstand are build up with wrong progression then the lower and mid traps cannot be properly engaged. Also poor shoulder mobility and additional fascia tension from the anterior pulling/pushing chain can result in lower traps activation. on GB there are many programs working to solve these problems.

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Alexander Castiglione
On 1/23/2017 at 5:22 PM, Alessandro Mainente said:

if the press to handstand are build up with wrong progression then the lower and mid traps cannot be properly engaged. Also poor shoulder mobility and additional fascia tension from the anterior pulling/pushing chain can result in lower traps activation. on GB there are many programs working to solve these problems.

Thanks Coach. I did some more work on it, and it appears the turnover where I need to stack my hips over my hands to finish the press is where I need work. What else can I do to train that motor pattern other than headstand reverse leg lifts? 

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Alessandro Mainente

Reverse leg lifts are primarily a lumbar conditioning exercise while as stated the press to handstand it is traps work. 

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Alexander Castiglione

Thanks for the reply. 

I've been working on some progressions to strengthen my low back, because my main sticking point has been stacking hips over hands, with the shoulders relatively in front (a quasi planche position) but I keep having issues with the turnover to finish the press to handstand. I've been working on compression too, so not sure if thats the issue, but i've been doing the following: 

Reverse leg lifts 

Superman holds making sure to keep my quads off the deck

Slow straddle raises on a reverse hyper

Banded reverse leg lifts on a reverse hyper 

Using a med ball in the planche position and rolling my legs on it to get the stack I need, but the turnover is where it breaks down. 

 

I tried yesterday getting into a handstand, and placing my feet on a 30 inch box, then raising them up. It was difficult, but progress. Would running more drills like this help? I'm still refining the handstand itself, but the turnover and stack is very difficult for me (for some reason, maybe body mechanics? I have relatively short arms, short femurs, long torso) so I figured I'd work on that concurrently so when my handstand is refined, I can be further along in the press. 

My bent arm strength is solid, as is my core strenghth is good, and single leg is outstanding - Straight arm strength and hollow back need work. 

 

ANY advice appreciated. Thanks GB. 

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