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View Full Version : Suggestions on how to work traps please!



jrctherake
02-04-2012, 09:10 PM
For those that don't already know. I've had three back surgeries with the fusions/rods/screws/disc replacements.

I can't go heavy enough on shrugs to get anything out of them without setting myself back.

The last and time I did shrugs I used a 110 lbs (thats including the bar) and was flat of my back for over a week and then had to have scans of surgery sites to make sure all hardware was ok. I had rather not go through that again not to mention the $$$ at the docs office.

The two things I've been doing for traps are:

1. (I'm a newb so I don't know what there called) Put my bench in rack. set the bench at 45 degree angle with the safetys on hole #1. I then put the barbell (44lbs) under the bench. I lay face down and pull the bar to my neck area and lead the movement with my elbows while squeezing my shoulder blades together.

2. (same here. don't know what there called) Take dumbells in hand while standing. I start the movement at a little lower than shoulder height to the side and raise the dumbells over my head and lower back to shoulder height or so and repeat while squeezing my blades together. I do a couple sets with palms up and a couple with palms down.

My doc said I could do anything that did not cause pain. He wants me to workout but he said to be very smart about it.

Thanks for any and all help!!!!

BTW, I did not mention that I have a training and diet journal. So anyone that knows and that does not mind taking a look at my training I would be most thankful.

For now I'm on keto.

sorry for the edit.

ironwill2008
02-04-2012, 09:44 PM
Since heavy shrugs are out (the traditional way to work traps directly), try giving them some work by doing Upright Rows. Traps can also be called into play during Lateral raises if you continue to raise the dumbbells above parallel to the floor.

jrctherake
02-04-2012, 10:06 PM
For those that don't already know. I've had three back surgeries with the fusions/rods/screws/disc replacements.

I can't go heavy enough on shrugs to get anything out of them without setting myself back.

The last and time I did shrugs I used a 110 lbs (thats including the bar) and was flat of my back for over a week and then had to have scans of surgery sites to make sure all hardware was ok. I had rather not go through that again not to mention the $$$ at the docs office.

The two things I've been doing for traps are:

1. (I'm a newb so I don't know what there called) Put my bench in rack. set the bench at 45 degree angle with the safetys on hole #1. I then put the barbell (44lbs) under the bench. I lay face down and pull the bar to my neck area and lead the movement with my elbows while squeezing my shoulder blades together.

2. (same here. don't know what there called) Take dumbells in hand while standing. I start the movement at a little lower than shoulder height to the side and raise the dumbells over my head and lower back to shoulder height or so and repeat while squeezing my blades together. I do a couple sets with palms up and a couple with palms down.

My doc said I could do anything that did not cause pain. He wants me to workout but he said to be very smart about it.

Thanks for any and all help!!!!

BTW, I did not mention that I have a training and diet journal. So anyone that knows and that does not mind taking a look at my training I would be most thankful.

For now I'm on keto.

sorry for the edit.


Since heavy shrugs are out (the traditional way to work traps directly), try giving them some work by doing Upright Rows. Traps can also be called into play during Lateral raises if you continue to raise the dumbbells above parallel to the floor.

Unless I mistaken is what your suggesting the same as #2 in my original post?

I have not thought much about upright rows. I may be able to do them but will most likely have to go very light as it is a spine compressing movement but I think it would take less weight to upright rows than shrugs so I will give them a shot.

Thanks a ton for taking the time to read my post!

ironwill2008
02-04-2012, 10:28 PM
Unless I mistaken is what your suggesting the same as #2 in my original post?
Probably, but keep your palms facing down; that will make your traps work a little bit harder.




I have not thought much about upright rows. I may be able to do them but will most likely have to go very light as it is a spine compressing movement but I think it would take less weight to upright rows than shrugs so I will give them a shot.
Take them easy. You shouldn't need a lot of weight; concentrate on really contracting your traps at the top of each rep.

jrctherake
02-04-2012, 10:41 PM
Probably, but keep your palms facing down; that will make your traps work a little bit harder.


Take them easy. You shouldn't need a lot of weight; concentrate on really contracting your traps at the top of each rep.

Thanks again. I will take your advice as you seem to know your stuff. BTW, you look great. I'm sure you have put alot of time and work into your body as well as researching to gain knowledge.

Again, thank you very much!

Old-Time-Lifter
02-05-2012, 06:47 AM
Try doing shrugs behind your back ala Lee Haney. I really think this is one of the best trap movements going. You don't need a lot of weight concentrate on the contraction and lift the bar over your glutes and to the small of your back.

You can also do Carlman DB Shrugs but honestly I prefer the behind the back shrugs as I feel it hitting my entire trap.

polishedball
02-05-2012, 07:19 AM
If it hasn't been mentioned, try face pulls. you can hit the traps pretty and from different angles.

keyboardworkout
02-05-2012, 08:00 AM
Could it be that having the barbell in front of you is what is loading your back and causing problems? Maybe try dumbbell shrugs while seated. Or, as OTL suggests, the barbell behind your back.

Trap/hex bar might be another option since the load is placed at the centerline of your body.

Another option could be chest supported shrugs on an incline bench or t-bar row.

Kelso's Shrug Book has a bunch of variations.

jor012
02-05-2012, 08:46 AM
Low row with pronated grip are good for mid and upper traps. Widening your grip will target outer traps and vise versa..I use slightly less than shoulder width. What your doing sounds like an upright row but with an angle..If your prone to shoulder injury stay away from upright rows.

ironwill2008
02-05-2012, 11:45 AM
Thanks again. I will take your advice as you seem to know your stuff. BTW, you look great. I'm sure you have put alot of time and work into your body as well as researching to gain knowledge.


thnx



Train smart!

rand18m
02-05-2012, 12:36 PM
Having had back surgery last year myself I can relate to your problem.

The simplest solution is to NOT train your traps specifically. I don't, and you know what, my traps are progressing fine enough with the back work I do. The problem is creating a heavy axial load on the spine, something you really can't get around working traps alone. If you do military presses for your shoulders, there is a short rep range where you are working your traps and it allows you to do so without an extra heavy axial load on your spine. Otherwise don't worry about it, seated cable rows and many other exercises that work the back do more trap work than you think. Here is a link that I believe will help you out. Good luck! (Oh and you just have to work them, seated dumbbell shrugs would be your best bet IMO)!

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis7.htm

jrctherake
02-05-2012, 01:28 PM
Try doing shrugs behind your back ala Lee Haney. I really think this is one of the best trap movements going. You don't need a lot of weight concentrate on the contraction and lift the bar over your glutes and to the small of your back.

You can also do Carlman DB Shrugs but honestly I prefer the behind the back shrugs as I feel it hitting my entire trap.

Hmmm. I have never heard of shrugs done behind the back. Thanks for the info.

BTW, what are Carlman DB shrugs?


If it hasn't been mentioned, try face pulls. you can hit the traps pretty and from different angles.

I already do those with very light weight. Thanks for mentioning it!!


Could it be that having the barbell in front of you is what is loading your back and causing problems? Maybe try dumbbell shrugs while seated. Or, as OTL suggests, the barbell behind your back.

Trap/hex bar might be another option since the load is placed at the centerline of your body.

Another option could be chest supported shrugs on an incline bench or t-bar row.

Kelso's Shrug Book has a bunch of variations.

I too believe having the barbell in front is most of the problem. I've never tried shrugs seated. I will give your suggestions a shot with very light weight. Thanks!!


Low row with pronated grip are good for mid and upper traps. Widening your grip will target outer traps and vise versa..I use slightly less than shoulder width. What your doing sounds like an upright row but with an angle..If your prone to shoulder injury stay away from upright rows.

Hmmm I will also give this a shot. Thanks!!



thnx



Train smart!

You are very welcome Sir!!

I will train as smart as I can. Again thanks!!


Having had back surgery last year myself I can relate to your problem.

The simplest solution is to NOT train your traps specifically. I don't, and you know what, my traps are progressing fine enough with the back work I do. The problem is creating a heavy axial load on the spine, something you really can't get around working traps alone. If you do military presses for your shoulders, there is a short rep range where you are working your traps and it allows you to do so without an extra heavy axial load on your spine. Otherwise don't worry about it, seated cable rows and many other exercises that work the back do more trap work than you think. Here is a link that I believe will help you out. Good luck! (Oh and you just have to work them, seated dumbbell shrugs would be your best bet IMO)!

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis7.htm

Good to hear from someone thats had back surgery. Thanks for the advice and the link!!

-=FLEX=-
02-05-2012, 02:07 PM
Have you tried smith machien shrugs?

I do them with one arm and not a lot of weight. Concentrate on bringing the bar up slowly and squeezing at the top. Been working very well and I've seen some great development in the last 6 months from doing this.

I do half my sets facing the bar and half my sets stadnign perpendicular to it.

jrctherake
02-06-2012, 12:13 AM
Have you tried smith machien shrugs?

I do them with one arm and not a lot of weight. Concentrate on bringing the bar up slowly and squeezing at the top. Been working very well and I've seen some great development in the last 6 months from doing this.

I do half my sets facing the bar and half my sets stadnign perpendicular to it.

I would like to try those but I don't have a smith machine yet.

When I bought my equipment from a closing gym they had already sold their smith. I got some great deals on other machines but no smith.

Thanks for the advice.

CardinalRB34
02-06-2012, 09:18 AM
I honestly believe that it's not necessary for most people to do isolated trap work to get them to grow. Traps are involved directly or indirectly with virtually every compound upper body exercise and thus are probably the victim of overtraining when you try to isolate them. People ask me all the time how I got my traps sooo dammm big... my answer is that I don't train them. Heavy shoulders and heavy rows are all you need for your traps. If you can deadlift.. that's even better.

BrotherWolf
02-06-2012, 10:17 AM
For those that don't already know. I've had three back surgeries with the fusions/rods/screws/disc replacements.

I can't go heavy enough on shrugs to get anything out of them without setting myself back.

The last and time I did shrugs I used a 110 lbs (thats including the bar) and was flat of my back for over a week and then had to have scans of surgery sites to make sure all hardware was ok. I had rather not go through that again not to mention the $$$ at the docs office.

The two things I've been doing for traps are:

1. (I'm a newb so I don't know what there called) Put my bench in rack. set the bench at 45 degree angle with the safetys on hole #1. I then put the barbell (44lbs) under the bench. I lay face down and pull the bar to my neck area and lead the movement with my elbows while squeezing my shoulder blades together.

2. (same here. don't know what there called) Take dumbells in hand while standing. I start the movement at a little lower than shoulder height to the side and raise the dumbells over my head and lower back to shoulder height or so and repeat while squeezing my blades together. I do a couple sets with palms up and a couple with palms down.

My doc said I could do anything that did not cause pain. He wants me to workout but he said to be very smart about it.

Thanks for any and all help!!!!

BTW, I did not mention that I have a training and diet journal. So anyone that knows and that does not mind taking a look at my training I would be most thankful.

For now I'm on keto.

sorry for the edit.

Your problem is that you want to do too much too soon, if 110 lbs causes pain do it with an empty bar or less .. after injuries or surgery you need to build your strength up in little steps

BrotherWolf
02-06-2012, 10:19 AM
I honestly believe that it's not necessary for most people to do isolated trap work to get them to grow. Traps are involved directly or indirectly with virtually every compound upper body exercise and thus are probably the victim of overtraining when you try to isolate them. People ask me all the time how I got my traps sooo dammm big... my answer is that I don't train them. Heavy shoulders and heavy rows are all you need for your traps. If you can deadlift.. that's even better.

What do you call direct training ?? rows are very direct and so are deadlifts.. you do train your traps

jrctherake
02-06-2012, 12:32 PM
I honestly believe that it's not necessary for most people to do isolated trap work to get them to grow. Traps are involved directly or indirectly with virtually every compound upper body exercise and thus are probably the victim of overtraining when you try to isolate them. People ask me all the time how I got my traps sooo dammm big... my answer is that I don't train them. Heavy shoulders and heavy rows are all you need for your traps. If you can deadlift.. that's even better.

I know very little about all the science and do/don'ts of this stuff. I do know that I cannot do heavy compound lifts because of back issues.

What you say makes sense though and I wish I was able to do so.

Thanks for the input!

jrctherake
02-06-2012, 12:35 PM
Your problem is that you want to do too much too soon, if 110 lbs causes pain do it with an empty bar or less .. after injuries or surgery you need to build your strength up in little steps

My therapist told me the same thing as you.

Thanks for bringing up that point as well. Even though I'm not gonna do them at this time I will keep what you say in mind if/when I ever start them again.

Thank you!

CardinalRB34
02-06-2012, 07:20 PM
What do you call direct training ?? rows are very direct and so are deadlifts.. you do train your traps

my post said - I do not think it is necessary to do any isolated work for traps... such as shrugs. I also said that traps are indirectly or DIRECTLY worked by virtually every compound upper body exercise. U R right - traps are directly involved with rows and deadlifts - and that's more than enough stimulation for growth IMHO. That's all I rely on for trap size and density - ROWS and some deads. Once in a blue moon - I will do some isolation work, but it is rare and it is light - no more than 315 and all I do is concentrate on the squeeze. Traps are also involved with most shoulder exercises and for stability in all pressing movements. With that being said... I don't see the need to worry about doing any shrugging. Just my opinion.

BrotherWolf
02-06-2012, 07:27 PM
I don't see the need to worry about doing any shrugging. Just my opinion.

I agree of course I was just wondering since you said you don't work traps directly .. I consider DL and rows for example a very direct traps workout

BrotherWolf
02-06-2012, 07:29 PM
My therapist told me the same thing as you.

Thanks for bringing up that point as well. Even though I'm not gonna do them at this time I will keep what you say in mind if/when I ever start them again.

Thank you!

He's a good therapist ;)
you are not going to hurt yourself even after an injury if you slowly bring the strength back to normal
if the bar alone is too much then you use less weight ..
I fact I'll go as far as saying that more so after injury or surgery you must work your way up to normal strength or more.. to avoid future issues

CardinalRB34
02-06-2012, 07:29 PM
I agree of course I was just wondering since you said you don't work traps directly .. I consider DL and rows for example a very direct traps workout

I agree - in that they get a lot of direct stimulation. But my terminology meant that they aren't the only muscle being focused on during either one of those exercises. Sorry for my bad wording.

yakabebe
02-06-2012, 07:34 PM
For those that don't already know. I've had three back surgeries with the fusions/rods/screws/disc replacements.

I for one with that sort of injury would run anything I got told by anyone past my rehab team.

jrctherake
02-06-2012, 11:44 PM
I for one with that sort of injury would run anything I got told by anyone past my rehab team.

For a good while after my last surgery I stayed in contact with him very often but he never would go into any real detail except to say "be careful" or "don't do anything that causes pain". Thats pretty much all the info I could get out of him.

I am on the same page with you though.

BTW, you look freaking awsome!

My wife ask me if I was gonna look like you if I kept working out. LOL...I told her not to hold her breath.

yakabebe
02-07-2012, 01:15 AM
For a good while after my last surgery I stayed in contact with him very often but he never would go into any real detail except to say "be careful" or "don't do anything that causes pain". Thats pretty much all the info I could get out of him.

I am on the same page with you though.

BTW, you look freaking awsome!

My wife ask me if I was gonna look like you if I kept working out. LOL...I told her not to hold her breath.

Hahaha!! Tell her for sure!!! I can post a pic of what i looked like back in 2004/5. Who thought that by sticking to it, putting one foot in front of the other and keepin' the faith that the end result would be as it is???

I guess from that you can say "No one woulda thought that!!!" and in there...lies the real message. IT IS possible! I did it and I dont really think I'm all that special.

AFChief
02-07-2012, 11:05 AM
Traditional shrugs bother my back also. One gym I use has a hammer shrug machine .. love it. My other gym does not so ill use a trap bar or dumbbells there. Key for me is keeping the weight / grip to my sides.

jrctherake
02-07-2012, 11:31 AM
Traditional shrugs bother my back also. One gym I use has a hammer shrug machine .. love it. My other gym does not so ill use a trap bar or dumbbells there. Key for me is keeping the weight / grip to my sides.

Thanks for your personal experience!!

cockywop
02-07-2012, 04:05 PM
A couple off the top of my head that would probably not cause you problems.

1. Prone Y raises with light dumbells
2. Band face pulls
3. Band shrugs
4. cable lateral raises.

jrctherake
02-07-2012, 04:10 PM
A couple off the top of my head that would probably not cause you problems.

1. Prone Y raises with light dumbells
2. Band face pulls
3. Band shrugs
4. cable lateral raises.

Thanks!! I'll have to get me a cable crossover or functional trainer very soon.

CardinalRB34
02-07-2012, 04:20 PM
if you need something with back support... lie face down on an incline bench set at a high angle... around 60 degrees. try your dumbell shrugs this way - don't worry about weight - just make sure to get good contractions.

anytime you do machine rows... make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together on the contractions.

jrctherake
02-07-2012, 11:40 PM
if you need something with back support... lie face down on an incline bench set at a high angle... around 60 degrees. try your dumbell shrugs this way - don't worry about weight - just make sure to get good contractions.

anytime you do machine rows... make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together on the contractions.

Good idea! Thanks! I will try exactly that my next workout.

Again, thanks!!

CardinalRB34
02-08-2012, 07:45 AM
ur welcome.