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  1. #1
    Registered User TurboKC's Avatar
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    Agonist / Antagonist

    Hi, I'm doing my level 2 in gym instructing (bottom of the ladder lol) and I'm trying to pair up muscles with their agonist/antagonist groups.

    A couple of questions have come up with this and specifically I want to know what the antagonist is if the delts are the prime mover:

    Choice is out of pecs, traps or lats. My guess is the pecs as I was considering the opposite of a lateral raise (delts) to be a low cable fly (pecs).

    The other one that got me was the agonist if the pecs are the prime mover, only this time delts aren't an option so the obvious choices are out of:

    Lats or traps.

    If I'm right in both cases then this means there aren't strict pairings for agonist/antagonist and muscle pairings can overlap on occasions.

    Cheers
    KC
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  2. #2
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    It depends on who you ask. The simplest explanation I have seen is from medical texts that state that the anterior and posterior deltoids are antagonists to each other. When drawing the arm forward, your anterior deltoid is assisted by pectoralis major. When drawing the arm backward, the posterior deltoid is assisted by the teres major and latissimus dorsi.

    The more complicated answers typically come from the Kinesiology crowd which list antagonists and synergists based each specific movement.
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  3. #3
    Registered User DoItUp's Avatar
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    there is some overlap on the agonist/antagonist questions in some cases. For the lateral delt raise the lats would be the antagonist. For the pecs as a prime mover the traps would be the antagonist. The pec can pull your arms forward and a little downwards. The trap is a big muscle the pulls your arms back and up-so the direct opposite of the pec.

    Dshinton is very correct with the anterior and posterior delt being eachothers antagonist when the anterior delt contracts, the posterior stretched, and vise versa

    hope this helps
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by TurboKC View Post
    Hi, I'm doing my level 2 in gym instructing (bottom of the ladder lol) and I'm trying to pair up muscles with their agonist/antagonist groups.

    A couple of questions have come up with this and specifically I want to know what the antagonist is if the delts are the prime mover:

    Choice is out of pecs, traps or lats. My guess is the pecs as I was considering the opposite of a lateral raise (delts) to be a low cable fly (pecs).

    The other one that got me was the agonist if the pecs are the prime mover, only this time delts aren't an option so the obvious choices are out of:

    Lats or traps.

    If I'm right in both cases then this means there aren't strict pairings for agonist/antagonist and muscle pairings can overlap on occasions.

    Cheers
    KC
    Lateral Raise (Abduction of Shoulder Joint & Upward Rotation S.G):
    Muscles involved in a lateral raise are obviously the lateral deltoid, and supraspinatus. Depending on the angle of the shoulder joint, the supraspinatus will be recruited. The most obvious antagonist is the lats (adduction). But the lats also medially rotate, so make sure lateral rotation to equal it out.

    Pecs (horizontal adduction, flexion, extension, medial rotation):
    If you take a look at an anatomy book, the fibers start from the sternum and run to your humerus. It depends what you're trying to equal out. Typically, people get enough horizontal adduction, but neglect horizontal abduction. You could do wide rows (hor abd/retraction), but stay away from extension because the lats will also be recruited in that.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by jamezgt View Post
    Lateral Raise (Abduction of Shoulder Joint & Upward Rotation S.G):
    Muscles involved in a lateral raise are obviously the lateral deltoid, and supraspinatus. Depending on the angle of the shoulder joint, the supraspinatus will be recruited. The most obvious antagonist is the lats (adduction). But the lats also medially rotate, so make sure lateral rotation to equal it out.

    Pecs (horizontal adduction, flexion, extension, medial rotation):
    If you take a look at an anatomy book, the fibers start from the sternum and run to your humerus. It depends what you're trying to equal out. Typically, people get enough horizontal adduction, but neglect horizontal abduction. You could do wide rows (hor abd/retraction), but stay away from extension because the lats will also be recruited in that.
    I like this answer.

    Think like this. lateral raises bring up and away, lats bring down and in.


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  6. #6
    Registered User jamezgt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DoItUp View Post
    there is some overlap on the agonist/antagonist questions in some cases. For the lateral delt raise the lats would be the antagonist. For the pecs as a prime mover the traps would be the antagonist. The pec can pull your arms forward and a little downwards. The trap is a big muscle the pulls your arms back and up-so the direct opposite of the pec.

    Dshinton is very correct with the anterior and posterior delt being eachothers antagonist when the anterior delt contracts, the posterior stretched, and vise versa

    hope this helps
    What trap pulls the "arm" back?
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  7. #7
    Registered User DoItUp's Avatar
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    ^ retraction of the scapula utilizes the lower trapezius muscle-I said "pulls the arm back" so that the non anatomy students on this site would understand the movement and related it to a seated row or bent over BB row.

    It does not really pull the arms back, that would be more of the post. deltoid but when the back is "pinched" the lower trapezus is utilized
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  8. #8
    Registered User jamezgt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DoItUp View Post
    ^ retraction of the scapula utilizes the lower trapezius muscle-I said "pulls the arm back" so that the non anatomy students on this site would understand the movement and related it to a seated row or bent over BB row.

    It does not really pull the arms back, that would be more of the post. deltoid but when the back is "pinched" the lower trapezus is utilized
    Retraction of the shoulder girdle just brings the shoulder girdle closer together. There's no movement of the shoulder joint. But when the back is pinched, the lower traps are utilized? I never heard about that, the only thing I can think of is stabilizing the S.G into place.
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  9. #9
    Registered User DoItUp's Avatar
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    Yes when the back is pinched the SG is brought closer together, that therefore would make perfect sense to how the middle and lower trapezius muscle would be contracted. Look at the origins and insertions of the lower trap. The lower portion originates from the spinous processes of the vertebrae and inserts on the spine of the scapula and acromion of the scapula. So when the SG is retracted the scapula is obviously contracted which in return contracts the trapezius muscle.

    That is why seated rows work the trap aswell as many other muscles in the back
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  10. #10
    Registered User jamezgt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DoItUp View Post
    Yes when the back is pinched the SG is brought closer together, that therefore would make perfect sense to how the middle and lower trapezius muscle would be contracted. Look at the origins and insertions of the lower trap. The lower portion originates from the spinous processes of the vertebrae and inserts on the spine of the scapula and acromion of the scapula. So when the SG is retracted the scapula is obviously contracted which in return contracts the trapezius muscle.

    That is why seated rows work the trap aswell as many other muscles in the back
    True, traps 4 does have some fibers running horizontally. But during a full retraction exercise, the prime mover wouldn't be traps 4.

    What I'm trying to say is that don't rely on retraction exercises to build up your lower traps.
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    Thanks everyone, lots of great replies. I think due to the simplicity of the questions at this level the answers for me are going to be delts = lats and pecs = traps.

    By the way DoItUp, hope you don't take it the wrong way but in your avatar you look so much like Rocky its uncanny lol.

    Cheers
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by TurboKC View Post
    Thanks everyone, lots of great replies. I think due to the simplicity of the questions at this level the answers for me are going to be delts = lats and pecs = traps.

    By the way DoItUp, hope you don't take it the wrong way but in your avatar you look so much like Rocky its uncanny lol.

    Cheers
    KC
    HAHA jeeze your the second person to tell me that-no worries
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by jamezgt View Post
    True, traps 4 does have some fibers running horizontally. But during a full retraction exercise, the prime mover wouldn't be traps 4.

    What I'm trying to say is that don't rely on retraction exercises to build up your lower traps.
    then what would you say the prime mover would be of a full retraction exercise?

    and what would you rely on to build your lower traps?

    I know the rhomboids play a part as well but with the sheer size of the traps they would be the prime mover.
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    Originally Posted by DoItUp View Post
    then what would you say the prime mover would be of a full retraction exercise?

    and what would you rely on to build your lower traps?

    I know the rhomboids play a part as well but with the sheer size of the traps they would be the prime mover.
    Prime mover for S.G retraction : rhomboids & traps 2-3.

    Lower trap recruitment : military press, reverse dips (depression)

    It's true that the rhomboids are quite small, but they're still a prime mover of retraction. If you take a look at S.G stability, and have been training for some time, you would know that the retractors are always stretched out and very weak in the general population.
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    that is true but that is becasue the gen. population usually tends to neglect doing back exercises. hence the "gorilla chest" (shoulders brought in)

    I'm dividing the traps into 3 parts upper, middle, and lower not 4 parts. If you divide the trap into 4 parts then really the only thing part 4 is going to do is depress the scapula and the is very little a person can do to increase bulk in the lower trap by just depressing the scapula. The reverse dip is an isolation exercise for the tri's, sure it depresses the scapula but by no means would you use it to increase mass on the lower trap.

    for the military press the scapula is going trough the elevation motion not depression. This would not utilize the trap at all.

    Bottom line-if someone wants to increase mass or strength of their lower traps they would do seated rows, bent over rows, or t-bar rows. They would not do the military press or reverse dips
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