Stubborn Middle and Lower Traps

Now I know my science might not be the most logical aproach when it comes to training but excuse me for a moment.

When it comes to my body, I can get damn near every major bodypart sore except my middle and lower traps.

Chest, biceps, triceps, hams, quads, calves etc. all experience it easily.
Cleans and high pulls destroy my upper traps. Pullups hit my lats real good. However, when I do rows, whether bent over, DB, underhand, overhand, etc. I never ever FEEL them. I can never get them sore. They also happen to be the one muscle I want to grow the most. I can never FEEL the rows.

Does anybody else experience this? Is this maybe a muscle recruitment issue?

Now that I think of it, shoulders is another one.

And please don’t flame me about soreness not being a good indicator because I see it as at least I know the workout was effective. Just help me here. Hopefully, this will bring some good discussion…

greek - I have the exact same problem!!! I was just thinking about posting this too. My traps, sans upper, never feel sore. Neither do my rhomboids. I can get my teres and upper traps to be really sore, along with my lats, but never my mid/lower traps and rhomboids.


Wassup, bitch;-) I know you’re just as fond of heavy weights and low reps as I am, but why don’t you shave a few pounds off your rowing movements and strive to feel the movement?

When you’re doing your rows, there a few things you can focus on to really get your mid/lower traps involved. Make sure your grip is wide enough so that you can pull your elbows back (with your back) as far as possible. Also, focus on pulling your scapula together at full contraction.

That scapular retraction is going to be really crucial in getting those stubborn traps involved.

You can even try a leaning forward shrug with dumbbells. Instead of sitting straight up, lean forward and focus on shrugging/retracting with your mid/lower traps.

I found that lowering the weight and concentrating on squeezing my shoulder blades together during rows helped a lot.

Take a look at the trap exercizes on http://

For me, the olympic lifts as well as barbell rowing (body parallel to floor, pronated grip, bring to sternum) hit these areas hard.

Timbo stole my response.

greek, overhand rows to upper abs, just below your rib cage will do the trick If you concentrate heavily on contracting your middle and lower traps they will pinch together and you will feel like someone has just given you a back rub when you finish your set. Do a 2 second hold with your scapula retracted, low weight, high reps and afterwards, your back will be limber and nice and warm right in the middle. trust me.

Just like Timbo says, hunched over db shrugs work as well, as do Alessi’s incline db mid-trap raises. Go very light and hold at the top for 2 seconds, high reps. You’ll look like you’re fucking the bench and people will laugh at you, but you’ll feel it and who’ll be laughing then?

One exercise – RACK PULLS.

End result will be big time mid back thickness.

i was going to say the same as Timbo…also how about trying Shrugs with a barbell behind your ass,or if you have a cambered(sp.?)bar use that…

Conan’s Wheel. By far the best for what you’re looking for.

What do you mean you don’t have one???


This may help. One arm dumbbell rows but don’t pull straight up. Instead pull to your hip, so you sort of arc the weight backwards. But alot of other great suggestions. :wink:

BTW, I think shrugs are useless. I don’t remember the last time doing them, and my back/traps/whatever definitely hasn’t suffered.

Thunder, that interesting. I believe I built my upper traps with heavy, heavy shrugs.

Sorry, this is straying off the main topic.

thunder hit it on the nose, rack pulls are the shit. squeeze those shoulder blades at the top and your traps will start growing.

Yes, you might have. But I didn’t and I bet I had more fun than you did, since shrugs are no fun.

Ask Heavythrower how he built his traps too? Snatch grip power pulls and deadlifts. “The fun exercises”

You don’t need anything else.

Shrugs are my favorite exercize - I can do more weight on them than any other lift (except Leg Presses & Calf presses, but they dont’ count.)

Suprise, Suprise -

Thunder loves his rack pulls. :slight_smile:

And he has got the traps to show for it.

Any heavy rowing/deadlift movement should hit your traps just fine. IMO trying to isolate the middle 1/3rd of your traps or the upper portion of your biceps etc… is probably wasting your time.

For back thickness, hit rows of all sorts.


Most people who shrug ultra heavy loads aren’t really shrugging. It looks more like a nervous twitch in their neck.

People like shrugs just for that reason. it’s the only exercise they get to put lots of plates on the bar. Even the 150lb guys can do this.

Sorry, I just hate shrugs.

Gotta put the rack pulls and high snatch pulls into my routine soon. Actually I’m thinking the rack pulls will be easier on my back than deads. :wink:

I will concur with the pulls. Those snatch grip high pulls are just awesome, you really get a nice workout from them.

Fully understand now after doing them for a few weeks. I used to do shrugs and they did feel like pinching the neck. Did them with the big dumbbells, wasnt enough, so i went with the bar and plates, and I swear it was more grip and neck twitching work than trap work.

High pulls all the way.