The Trapezius Muscle: A Key Muscular Group That Affects Your Shoulders and Arms
Traps are the muscles that hold your arms straight out from your body. They include the biceps brachii, tricep, deltoid, trapezius and infraspinatus muscles. These muscles work together to support your arm position when holding something or moving it around.
Traps have been used in various sports since ancient times such as wrestling and boxing. Today they are often used in weightlifting, gymnastics and other strength training activities.
Injuries to the traps can lead to shoulder problems like rotator cuff tears, torn labrum, torn anterior capsule or even arthritis. The traps are also involved in balance and proprioception. When these muscles become weak they affect your ability to move your arms properly.
You may experience pain when performing certain movements such as throwing a baseball or playing tennis due to lack of control over your arm position. Other shoulder injuries can also lead to reduced trap strength, such as humeral fractures and problems with the biceps tendon.
Trap Exercises Without Weights
The simplest trapezius exercise is to lie on your stomach and then raise both your arms into the air, bending your elbows and holding them up there for several seconds. This not only stretches your arms but also your chest and shoulder muscles. If you are lying on a bed or soft surface you can also let yourself roll over slowly from side to side as you do this exercise, to work the muscles that stop your body from rolling too far.
A second exercise is suitable for beginners and people who are still recovering from injury or illness and can’t do more than lie in bed. All you have to do is raise both your arms up over your head as far as you can, without using any weights or other aids. This should be done at least 5 times for each arm.
As the muscles strengthen, this exercise can be made more difficult by using a backpack that is half-filled with books, which will increase the weight and make it harder to lift your arms.
A third exercise involves lying face down on a bed, bench or other raised surface about 6-12 inches high. This can be a couch, a mattress or something similar. You then raise both your arms straight out to the side so that they are straight and level with the floor.
If you can, you should try to have your palms facing down. This is an excellent position to stretch the muscles and is a good way to relax after a hard day’s work. Just make sure you do not allow your body to hang forward too much as this can strain the shoulder muscles.
A fourth exercise is a simple one but should only be performed by people who are in good physical condition. To do this, you stand with your feet together and then lift your arms out to the side until they are parallel to the floor and hold them in this position for as long as you can. Try to build up how long you can hold the position each day.
After a couple of weeks, you should find that you can hold the position for at least 40 seconds.
Trap Exercises With Weights
There are a huge variety of weight exercises that target the trapezius muscles. The key to building bigger and stronger traps is to perform lots of heavy weight lifting and to perform these exercises slowly, always using only the maximum amount of weight that you can lift for a minimum of 8 reps.
A good exercise is to lie face down on a bed or other raised surface that is around 6 inches high. Next, you need to grab some dumbbells (preferably the kind you can sit on) and raise them so that they are resting on your shoulder blades. Be sure to keep your arms straight and lift the weights directly behind your head so that your body forms a “W.” Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
This can be a particularly difficult exercise and should only be performed by people that are already in good physical condition.
Another good exercise is to lie face down on a bed or other raised surface that is around 6 inches high. Next, you need to grab some dumbbells and hold them out to the side like a skeleton. You then lift the weights up until your arms are stretched out to the side and your body is forming a “T”.
Be sure to keep your arms straight and lift the weights directly out to the side so that your body forms a “T”. This should be an easy exercise for people with strong core muscles, but can be heavy if using heavier dumbbells.
A third exercise involves lying face down on a bed or other raised surface that is around 6 inches high. Next, you need to grab a barbell and hold it vertically in front of you with your arms straight. Slowly lift the barbell until it is above your head as you sit up.
Keep your arms straight and lift the bar directly above your head so that your body forms a “T”. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. This is an excellent exercise and should only be performed by people who are already in good physical condition.
These exercises can be combined with other types of weight lifting if you want to add more variety or focus on specific trouble areas. For example, if you want to work on your upper traps (the ones at the top of your shoulders), you could perform shoulder presses in addition to the above exercises. If you want to work on your lower traps (the ones at the very bottom), you could do some bench presses and then lower the bar until it is just above your neck.
Another good exercise is to grab a light barbell with a narrow grip and then lift it over your head. This exercise can be performed with one arm at a time or both at the same time.
You can do these exercises 3 times a week to start with, and then increase it to 4 times a week as your fitness level improves. Be sure to always give yourself a day of rest in between weight training sessions so that you muscles have time to recover.
Sources & references used in this article:
Low row exercise machine by GA Jones – US Patent 5,135,456, 1992 – Google Patents
Preventing shoulder and rotator cuff injuries through corrective exercise programming (Part 2) by DC David Cruz – blog.nasm.org
Physiotherapy after subacromial decompression surgery: development of a standardised exercise intervention by DH Christiansen, D Falla, P Frost, LH Frich… – Physiotherapy, 2015 – Elsevier