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Posts Tagged ‘traps’

Workout Wednesday–Trap Dominance

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

We all seem to have it!


Between poor posture, lots of reading, slouching at computers ;) as well as while driving, caring for children, etc. etc. etc., our traps become way more dominant and the lats become weaker, making it even harder to “sit up straight” for very long!


Added to that, we tend to store stress (so to speak) in our traps as well, so for most women (can’t speak for the men!), trap dominance is a given.


First of all, what and where are the traps?


The trapezius muscle is a triangular muscle with the three points between the lower back, shoulder and neck/base of skull.  Many tension headaches can be attributed to the tension in this muscle.   Not to mention tight, sore shoulders, as well.



Here is a picture of where the traps are located.


So, what do we do about it?!


Ribs UP!


By getting the ribs up and shoulders back in alignment with the hips, you equalize the workload on the shoulder–the muscles are working more equally vs. some pulling more than others.  This also engages the lats  (latissimus dorsi, picture here), which help balance the traps!


It truly is a “balancing act”!



I know I’ve said ribs up a LOT on here, but that’s because it is so important!  Whenever you hear Teresa say “shoulders back” on the dvds, think ribs up.  For me, I was trying to squeeze the shoulder blades together, which is starting to get the idea, but it tends to be overinvasive, leading to inflammation.   Also, you are usually using the traps to “push” the shoulders back vs. the lats to “pull” them back.


I liken it to the difference between a military “standing at attention” and a graceful “model” stance.


Try it there, sitting at the computer.  Get all slouchy. :)   Now bring your shoulders up and back by squeezing your shoulder blades together.  You probably feel the muscle tightening up in your shoulder blade area most.


Now get all slouchy again. :)


This time think of a string pulling your head up, up, up and your ribcage out of your tummy.  Once you get as “high” as the “string” can pull you, gently relax your shoulders while still keeping ribs up.


Now you should feel the tightening more in the lat region.  (Around your br*a band.)


You will get tired, especially if like most of us, you spend much of your time reading, caring for children or elderly parents, leaning over washing dishes, cleaning, etc.


But with time, the lats will get stronger and it will be easier to stay in good posture for longer periods of time!


The more I do this, the more my trap tension also seems to release!  Recently I was extra tense (um…certifications plus riding in the van for 22 hours over 2 days!), and it seemed I just couldn’t get my traps to fully release.    Part of my problem is I needed a new pillow!  (That is coming up on Friday–I’ll be returning to Fabulous Family Friday with some reviews this week!)   But even throughout the day, I just couldn’t fully relax.


I thought maybe I might need a chiropractic adjustment, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was totally in the muscle.


I kept focusing on ribs up (not that I’m doing it 100% of the time–far from it!), and doing Kayla’s trick with finding the breastbone, then the bottom of the ribs, and physically lifting them.  That usually does it for me, but this was a stubborn case!  :p


The toughest part is to relax the shoulders–no hunching!  And you don’t have to be in an over-exaggerated hunch to be truly “hunching”!  But by continuing to “practice” and think “relax”, I eventually got things back in balance!


Ribs up is soooo key to much of our body alignment!  As I’ve posted before, it helps with inch loss in the arms, tummy and thighs. It helps the adrenals.  It helps our thoughts! ;)   And now you have a key to help release some tension and enjoy your day just a bit better!





I’m not trying to string everyone along about my surprise!  I’m awaiting a few final things to fall into place and then I can make the grand announcement!  As I said there will be giveaways involved–yes, plural!


Until next time–


Happy Tappin’!