T Nation

Sloping Shoulders Look


@dchris you hurt you feelings a bit. No offense lol


Haha, I’m subtley pulling an Arnie and tearing you down. :wink:

But seriously, I’ve always been envious of people who have the appearance of lower shoulders. Cause once the traps are built, they look like a brick shithouse.


High shoulders make traps look crazy from the front. It’s a give and take, I’m sure.
You’re trying to sabotage my T-ransformation. You should probably mess with flipcollar instead.


I figure we are all competing for 2nd place. Ha, I’m going to be the same weight as him at the end of all this, but I’ll have like 5" on him… so… ya, there’s that.


Just my luck. I took some back pictures yesterday.


My back might be within some sort of reachable distance of yours with time but my front is about 2 miles back.


Flips about where I want to be in 3-5 years. I have no idea if it’s possible for me, but fuck it, I’m gonna try.


okay guys, I couldn’t really find anyone to take pics of my back for me so I had to do it myself.

it was only once I left the gym that I realized the angle from which they had been taken was all but optimal (and a tiny bit of the left side of my body doesn’t even fit in the pics), but I think they are sufficient to get an idea of how my back looks.

i tried and do some “poses” to show my back development and i also took a pic of my just standing tall

these pics were actually taken 10ish minutes after a back workout so i had a little bit of a pump on my side

just click on this link to see them all: http://imgur.com/a/xWmlv

one thing i noticed from those pics (that may look even worse than it actually is because of the angle they were taken from) is that i have kind of a “neck-forward” posture, which is all but good. i will have to look into how to fix that.

as far as those who suggested i start actually training my traps: what exercises would you recommend, taking into account the issue i described earlier? i would definitely not do regular bb/db shrugs because of the reasons explained in the article about depressed shoulders that was linked above (i actually had already figured that out some time ago) and i will start working on overhead shrugs. anything else?


You’ve made great progress from your previous photo.

Take note of Brady and Flip’s backs, notice how their traps are large and make their back look complete? You just need to gain size. No other way to look at it.

I would be very hesitant to self diagnose, based on an article you read. If you are that concerned, go see a doctor and get their opinion. Otherwise, keep training hard.

You’re on the right track, don’t get paralyzed by perceived problems.


Thank you!

So as far as developing the traps, what exercises would you suggest?
Overhead shrugs for sure, as i mentioned, but are they enough? Of course i’m talking about the upper traps, since i believe the lower part gets stimulated by all the rowing and pulling i already do in my back/pull days.

as far as self-diagnosing, you’re probably right but i don’t think that doing the drills mentioned in So you’ve got depressed shoulders and ditching stiff-legged dls in favor of pull throughs, as well as doing oh shrugs can do any harm, even in case i was wrong as to having that problem.

hope that makes sense

so yeah, i will just keep training hard as i’ve been doing.

i know this is kind of an off topic question but i feel like asking it here since i’ve been given general advice/opinion in this topic so far:
as i mentioned i’m currently cutting (i’m tracking my calories so that i keep myself at about 1.8k to 2k cals a day, with a macro ratio of 40% protein, 40% carb, and 20% fat) and, although i haven’t really lost any visible muscle mass so far (i’m feeling pretty well also as far as strength goes albeit that seems to have gone down a little) and i’m slowly getting more cut, i have heard that it isn’t really advisable to cut provided my age and training time so… what’s your take on that?

i was thinking about keeping cutting up until around june or really until i get as cut and lean as i would like to be, then i would slowly get back to maintenance calories (which for my stats may be around 2.4 cal a day, even though some TDEE calculators state it’s 2.7k cal/day) and then work my way up to about 2.9k-3k cal a day to start bulking. i don’t want to make the mistake i made this winter of dirty bulking and getting fat. at no point do i want to be any fatter than 15% bf, and if that means i will have to do some mini-cuts here and there, i’m okay with that.

what’s your take on this? does this look as a solid plan? any advice you or any other guy here feel like giving?


I really don’t like my traps, so don’t feel qualified to say do this and you’ll see improvement. With that said, this is what I’m doing:

Snatch Grip HIgh Pulls
Zercher Holds
Band Pull Aparts
Hang Cleans

My personal opinion, if I were in your shoes, would be to just eat at or slightly above maintenance (+200 cals). You’re fairly lean and could benefit from a slower approach to gaining size. Others like @flipcollar who stays perpetually lean might have other thoughts.


okay that in regard of bulking. but what do you think about me currently cutting? do you agree with those saying i just shouldn’t do it and keep bulking?

i really want to get (as close as i can to) shredded for this summer before putting on mass and trying to clean bulk, but i want to know if doing this can be detrimental on my future gains or my “n00b gainz window.”

also, what do you believe is the best way to determine maintenance calories?

given my stats, (so 16yo, 179cm/5’10’’, and about 72kg/158lbs) what do you think my tdee is closer to? 2.3k or 2.7k? those are the two values i’ve come up with the most when trying to figure out my tdee


I wouldn’t say bulk or cut. Eating slightly above maintenance for a recomp.

If you want to be shredded for summer, then that is your goal and what you should focus on. My previous statement is based on what I would do in your shoes. If you want to be shredded then drop calories below maintenance and get shredded.

Track your calories for two weeks monitor any average weight gain, adjust accordingly.

Impossible to know, really. Start at 2,500 and adjust based on above.


I really, really don’t like the general idea of ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’. I think that’s the wrong approach for where you are. You’re in a good position to add muscle right now WITHOUT adding a ton of fat, if any. So if you want to know my opinion moving forward, it is that you should try to continue building muscle without eating at such a surplus that you get fat. A lot of people think that fat gains are necessary when gaining muscle, and it’s simply not the case. I’ve never been above 15% bodyfat in my life, and these days I stay under 10% while ‘bulking’.

This applies to getting ‘shredded’ as well. Getting shredded, and looking good at a very low bodyfat percentage necessitates a fair amount of underlying muscle. If you drop to single digit bodyfat at your level of development, you’ll just look anorexic. I would just stay pretty lean, and continue to get bigger and stronger, and consider the shreds later.

Figuring out proper diet to achieve this takes some manipulation over time. You have to figure out what works for YOU. I would get your protein around 150-180g per day, and try to keep carbs as high as you possibly can without gaining fat. If you start to add undesirable weight, you adjust appropriately by lowering carb intake. Overtime, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t for you. It’s not going to happen over night, but if you put enough time and effort in, you’ll figure it out.

Ok, so back and trap work: I think of all the muscle groups, the back responds the BEST to very heavy work, and a lot of stress. Deadlifts have built an incredibly strong lower back for me, as well as solid traps. I think heavy cleans, and power cleans have a ton of benefit. Additionally, I do heavy rows and I do pull ups. I do no direct trap work, as far as shrugs goes. I feel like they aren’t necessary if you’re doing deadlifts and cleans. Cleans involve a shrug when done properly, and deadlifts produce a lot of static tension on the deadlifts that helps them grow.


I wouldn’t worry about the depressed shoulder thing. The heavy barbell movements provide the majority of the stimulus for traps. But just like you shouldn’t diagnose yourself, I am not attempting to diagnose you either.


@samul, I just wanted to chime in and say that I wasn’t “diagnosing” you with depressed shoulders. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not broken. Honestly, you’ve made really good progress doing what you’ve been doing, so if I were in your position I wouldn’t make any huge changes to my training.

That said, if a poster came on here complaining about having “rolled forward” shoulders, I don’t think anyone would take issue with suggesting that they do some extra face pulls, band pull aparts, and general horizontal pulling. Some people might even suggest they take some time off of benching for a little while until they sorted their issue out. I’m doing the exact same thing, just with a slightly different minor positional issue. It wasn’t any kind of diagnosis, just an observation based on your description and the photos you posted. Hope that clears things up.

Keep up the good work.