T Nation

Minimizing Trap Involvement


Firt of all, a quick background on my structure;
I'm a 6'2 guy, my clavicles aren't very wide for my height, and I have very tall and prominent traps.

My traps stand very narrow and tall, and so they overgrow the rest of my body despite no direct trap work.

I want to look wider and the towering traps are only making it harder.
Whenever I try to work my side delts, they end up getting a huge pump no matter how strict I try to be.

Same goes for back work. Even after sets of chin ups or DB rows, my traps have an exaggerated pump.

My question is, how can I optimally target my delt and lat width with minimal trap involvement?


for delts try to overhead press with a neutral grip (with a swiss bar or DB's) it will work more of your front delts with less trap. "L shaped" side laterals are also good sub. from what you wrote it seems you actually need more trap work to make them thicker and fill out your yoke and upper back so things will look more balanced out.

dont worry yourself too much with this shit. just grow all over and things will balance out.


i would suggest moving to the pulldown machine as a warmup, you need to work on actually feeling your lats it sounds like. Can you set up with pinched shoulder blades on the bench? For me, i like to retract my shoulder blades on most pulling movements to start and then pull back with the lower lats.

On a cable row with vbar, sit upright 90 degrees, lower those traps!, retract your shoulder blades and pull with the very middle of your back, and then hold it at your belly button for a second or two and just squeeze the shit out of your back, make sure ur traps are low! if u can feel ytourself shrugging up at all ur doing it wrong, you really need to learn how to relax ur traps and pull with the back.

yes i repeated that alot, but thats the idea, mid rep u may forget and go back to old habits, you need to become very conscious of ur movements.

For shoulders, id try hitting your rear delts first, then some side laterals, try leaning away ones where you hod onto something with one arm, lean away kinda making your body into a forty five degree angle, then doing laterals with one arm but dont try to go absurdly high, these really hammer the delts for me, try like 15-20 reps with a heavish dumbell.


I have the same issue. 6'2", super trap dominant. I know, when it comes to shoulders, it's best to use the ROM (and also a weight) that only your delts handle. For laterals, that usually means not bring the elbows and arms above shoulder height, and for rear flyes, don't go far enough back to bring traps into play. I'd suggest watching this video, the guys explains it a lot better then I do.


Yes, I bench with a retracted scapula, though I've never tried it in pulling movements

I'll also try the leaning away laterals.. I've never done them before. I have been doing typical 'dumbells in front of you, raise until shoulder level' raises, which have been doing more for my traps than my delts


There was a shoulder superset from Thibs (on this site) which worked well for me in terms of hitting delts, and it was using the neutral grip, doing the press unilaterally, but using a barbell (the Javelin press), something like sets of 8. Straight after each set, you do a dumbell side-raise isometric hold at the top for time (to really get the blood in the delts). It works.

Other good thing about neutral grip pressing is that it doesn't stress thje shoulder joint like other variations.


That was a good video.

I liked his description of the fascia and in general he explained things well.


Do you lateral raises on cables so you have more control over range of motion

Raise the cable to the point before the traps take over

Do this with front delts too


Yeah he's very articulate... wish I could find more videos of ideas on training, but sadly this one about rear delts is all I can ever find.