The trapezius (traps for short) is a muscle in the upper part of your back that’s responsible for moving your shoulder blades. While the upper portion of the traps may get some attention at the gym, the mid and lower portions traps are frequently overlooked. Weak traps can cause muscle imbalances, resulting in an increased risk of injury and back pain.
In this last entry in my four-part series Forgetting Something, we’re going to look at the mid and lower portions of the trapezius muscle. You can check out the earlier blog posts here: the shoulder complex, the hip flexors and the core.
The Forgotten Mid-Trapezius
Having strong back muscles is important for posture and most daily activities. Even if you don’t want a broad, muscular back, every one should include back exercise in his/her training routine. Caution, if the upper traps are overworked, it can actually lead to weak mid and lower-traps, resulting in back pain and postural problems. According to Mark A., Fitness Manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Carlsbad, CA, “The lower traps are harder to target, so most people forget about them. I always include a rowing exercise variation to help my clients get a full back workout.”
Work It: Bent Over Row
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and bend over at the waist so your torso is parallel to the floor. With a dumbbell in each hand, pinch your shoulder blades together and pull your hands up towards your sides. Get a good squeeze at the top and slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat. For an extra challenge, try performing this exercise while standing on one leg.