Blame it on too much weightlifting (I’m 58 and need to quit pretending I’m 28), too much (faulty) swimming, too much yoga, poor posture, too much computer, too much filming with a heavy camera, bad sleep position – my upper traps are chronically tight and tense. They look overdeveloped – and maybe they are – but my shoulders are now rounded to the point that pain is radiating into my neck and forehead.
Countering that, my chest is pretty weak. My bench press is limited these days to a paltry 100 pounds (I’m 6’1" and weigh 180).
Besides the obvious – lay off upper back exercises and work on improving my posture, etc. – what do you guys do to “balance” the back of your body with the front? Can I “shrink” my trap muscles, or at least calm them down?
The neck and head pain are a wake-up call for me to make some changes …
Get into this position and see if you feel anything good.
Yes, definitely. Thank you!
I’d been doing a variation of that pose daily – but my arms were too far in front of my body, and my feet were flat on the ground.
The pose in your photo is much better. Doing it now.
Alright, that’s awesome.
Can you feel everything working to pull your arms and shoulders “down and back” and get the tension off your upper traps?
Like good tension in your Lower Traps
And your lats
Once you can get the tension in the right place, start working on Hindu Pushups
If it’s tough at first, elevate your hands. Or whatever you have to do to get through the motion while controlling your shoulders and keeping your upper traps “off.”
Sounds like you are tight and weak both. Call it mid life crisis:-) I just had one a few years ago. So need to stretch like they showed you. Also door stretches good. Acupuncture will speed up your loosening up if you can afford it. Start working chest out of stretched positions like dips. Add in flys and db press as you can. At our age keep lifts lighter and high reps like 3 sets of 15 not to failure. If you get really in shape maybe 5 sets of 15. Be really careful with the rows and stuff like that (I have to or I get into trouble as in really tight back) but need to work your back its probably weak too. Watch the video Tom Morrison put on here about shoulders. They are a big part of the problem too. Work and stretch all three (chest, back, and shoulders) and you will look almost 28 again. Almost… I actually have not figured out how to keep my back loose without the occasional acupuncture treatment but used to be way more often, Now like every 6 months. Hoping Tom’s shoulder excercises put me over the top.
I had same/similar… I’m late-40’s now and about 5 years ago had similar pain. No amount of stretching would cure it. I agree with Steven, get a physio or similar who can do acupuncture on your traps. The “needling” absolutely and instantly helps loosten them up. I go back every year or so when I feel tight.
In my routine… I got rid of all shrugs, I also eliminated overhead barbell presses (changed to alternating single-arm DB presses (no pinch) and single arm landmine presses) and also focused heavily on lat development. Then I visualize the ol’ keep my shoulder blades in my back pockets for regular posture and sitting.
Years later posture is great and pain free. I do a few shoulder presses from time to time but still avoid shrugs altogether. Hope that helps!
Steven, I took your advice and saw my acupuncturist yesterday. She inserted lots of needles on both of my traps, as well as my left pec minor (the side that’s so jacked up). Long epsom salt bath afterward, as she recommended.
I did notice some relief last night, and into today – but there’s still plenty of tightness in the shoulder/coracobrachialis area.
Did just one acupuncture session fix you up good? She told me it may take two or three sessions to really get this better.
Ken, did your instant loosening-up from acupuncture, stay loose after just one session?
I took your advice and saw my acupuncturist yesterday. She inserted lots of needles on both of my traps, as well as my left pec minor (the side that’s so jacked up). Long epsom salt bath afterward, as she recommended.
I did notice some relief last night, and into today – but there’s still plenty of tightness in the shoulder/coracobrachialis area. She told me it may take two or three sessions to really get this better. Going to the gym today and am going to avoid troublesome exercises.
No. Usually 3 or 4 if bad. Maybe 15 or so if I tore something. Seems like I need a tune up every 6 months to keep me out of trouble. And sometimes when I start a new exercise it makes it worse so have to quit that and go in, then just 1 session. Then I look for a better exercise. Realistically I don’t stretch enough.
Agreed might take a few rounds. Also my physio does a single needle that drills the muscle and she pokes at it. I don’t know the specific technique but it worked for me.