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segunda-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2016
Top 5 Traps Training Mistakes
and how to correct them.
Traps get no respect. They fit in with both shoulders and back, and therefore can be worked (and overworked) with either. Piggybacking with broader workouts, traps seldom get the honor of their own routines, and yet, your two trapezius muscles (left and right) are large, dramatic and complex, bracketing your delts and neck, and forming a kite on your upper back. By contrast, your biceps are puny and simple, but surely you have a bi routine and dote on every curl. Don’t shrug off trapezius training. Give it the respect it deserves by passing our traps test. Class is in session.
MISTAKE #1: OVERTRAINING
You may be unaware of how frequently you’re working this area. Traps gets stressed during deadlifts, rows, pulldowns and virtually every other exercise. With shoulders, traps assist in most laterals and presses, and do much of the work during upright rows. They even chip in during chest presses and biceps curls with your arms at your sides. And if you’re doing more athletic moves, such as power cleans or farmer’s walks, your traps are pulling overtime duty. Traps are like offensive linemen — never the star, but always assisting — and this is why they may be sore but not growing.
If you do deadlifts or power cleans as part of your back workout, do shrugs at the end of that workout.
If you do neither deadlifts nor power cleans for back, but upright rows (even if done with a wide grip) as part of your shoulder routine, include shrugs in your shoulder workouts.
Avoid training back and shoulders on consecutive days. Either train them on the same day or schedule at least 48 hours between the workouts
MISTAKE #2: UNDERTRAINING
Although many bodybuilders overtrain traps, at least as many undertrain this area. Just because traps are always helping, doesn’t mean they’re getting enough targeted work to grow. Too many trainers relegate traps to the afterthought category, tacking a few sets of shrugs onto a workout. Predictably, when their traps don’t distinguish themselves, it seems to prove they’re unworthy of their own routine.
Focus every set of upper-traps work into a trapezius routine.
Do a minimum of two exercises and 6 sets in each trapezius routine.
If your traps are especially weak, train them first before an unrelated bodypart, such as hamstrings, and do 8-12 sets.
In your traps routine, include intensifiers such as drop sets (go down the rack of dumbbells), supersets (shrugs and upright rows make a good combo) and partial reps (when you can’t get another full rep of shrugs, do burns and, finally, just hold the weight as long as possible).
MISTAKE #3: INSUFFICIENT EXERCISE VARIETY
Your upper traps spend most of their time stabilizing and assisting, but when they take center stage, they don’t have a lot of tricks to do. Primarily, they move your clavicles up about three inches. That’s it. So, inevitably, most people train traps only with shrugs, and usually with dumbbells and/or a barbell.
Many gyms have shrugging bars or machines, and we recommend you try all the specialized equipment you can, but here are three types of shrugs you probably aren’t doing that you can do in almost any commercial gym.
Behind-the-back barbell shrugs Stand holding a loaded barbell behind your back. Shrug the bar up and back slightly (to clear your glutes) and hold it in the top position for a second. This is also a great exercise to do in a Smith machine, because you can stand farther in front of the bar so that you don’t hit your glutes with it.
Twin-handle cable shrugs Stand in the center of a cable crossover station and hold two D-handles attached to pulleys in the low position. Your arms should be at approximately a 45-degree angle to your sides, then shrug.
45-degree cable shrugs Hold a short handle or rope attached to a low pulley and stand back so that your arms are at approximately a 45-degree angle to your body. Shrug, bringing your clavicles both up and back, thus working both the upper and middle traps.
Overhead shrugs Sit on a bench in a Smith machine and hold the bar as if in the top position of an overhead press. Keeping your elbows locked, push the bar up as far as possible.
MISTAKE #4: FOCUSING ONLY ON THE UPPER TRAPS
Everyone knows about shrugs for isolating the upper trapezius, but too few bodybuilders know how to target their middle and lower traps — that crucial slab of meat in the middle of the upper back. This area will assist on most back exercises, but as with the upper area, you should do some exercises that target middle and lower traps, especially if upper-back thickness is a weakness.
Do at least one shrugging exercise with your arms at a 45-degree angle to your front torso, thus working both your upper and middle traps. The aforementioned 45-degree cable shrugs do this. Another exercise is a 45-degree bench shrug. Lie face-down on an incline bench set at 45 degrees. Hold two dumbbells with your arms perpendicular to the floor and shrug up, maximizing the contraction in your traps and rhomboids at the top.
The Y raise is a unique way to isolate the lower traps. Lie on a high, flat bench and hold two dumbbells with your arms down and perpendicular to the floor. While keeping your elbows locked, raise your arms up and out so that they form a Y shape with your torso. Raise your arms as high as possible and hold before returning to the starting position.
MISTAKE #5: CONFUSION OF TRAPS AND NECK
Your traps are the surface muscle in the middle of the back of your neck, and they beef up the space between your neck and delts, but they do little to increase the circumference of your neck itself. To fit into shirts with a bigger collar size, you’ll need to do isolation exercises for your neck in addition to your traps routine.
The best way to work your neck is with a four-way neck machine. This allows you to do neck extensions forward, backward, and to the left and right. Do 10-20 reps in each of the four directions for two to four cycles.
Sans a neck machine, use either a neck harness and weight, or hold a folded towel and a weight plate to your head, and again work your neck in all four directions.
Just after your traps routine is an ideal time for “heavy necking.