T Nation

Trap Dominance Issues


Here's my shoulder routine here

Push Press 1x7,1x5,1x3 (x2)
Single Armed SemiSupine DB Press supersetted with lateral holds of 15-20 seconds

Delt Triad 2 rounds through

It seems like no mater how I hit my shoulder I ALWAYS have trap stimulation. My traps dominate my upper body not neccesarily a bad thing, bit They are overshadowing my shoulders

I havent done an oly lift since around January and they are still getting bigger even with the shoulders only day and the rear delt stuff on my back day

any ideas on what I should do other than tightening the waist area


Lateral holds? Single arm presses?

Are you lifting weights or trying out for a circus routine?

I have big traps as well and they are to the point where I may need to back off from training them so much. My shoulders are big enough for now for them to look balanced, but much more and that is all I will be known for.

What happened to the usual stuff that has worked for a century...like regular overhead presses, lateral raises (not holds), bent over laterals and shrugs?


No no, he hasn't added Swiss ball shoulder work............yet.


Senor X, shows no mercy. Seriously Rock, you need to do some heavy ass "normal" shoulder presses


Now how about this. Any advice on limiting trap stimulus on overhead presses? I honestly do have trap dominance. And I do heavy (to me, atleast) overhead presses.


yeah, listen to what all these other guys are saying. Especially listen to prof x, he has a real wealth of imformation. The only thing I could add to this is something I had a problem with, when I first started working out my traps grew unbelievably or at least compared to the rest of me even though I wasnt working it a whole lot.

The problem was my technique on all or most of my upper body lifts, everytime I performed a lift I was lifting my shoulders up, so basically I dropped the weight back, watched my posture and made sure my shoulders didnt move and problem solved.


Upright rows with close grip. Make sure to row it ALL the way up to your chin. If you feel any grinding or pinching sensation, you know you are stimulated something in the shoulder/ rotator cuff region.


Stimulated or irrated/broke down/started to injure.

I had some shoulder problems before caused by an upper trap tightness/dominance. It was so tight on the left size, it would pull on my a/c joint to the point it got noticeably inflammed.

After rehab, and starting just plain OH pressing again, the lift is going up and my shoulders look bigger.

Try to avoid shrugging/OH shrugging at the top of the lift, which will emphasize your upper traps. Just support the weight and try to lock the scapulae in place by depression and retraction while supporting the weight.

After presses, I feel like my upper back got some work, but it was from my lower/mid traps locking the scapulae in a supportive position, not my upper traps which are a pretty strong muscle group taking over.


Though I agree that the basics are in order, I don't think single arm presses are out of the ordinary. I incorporate them into a cycle every now and then to prevent my dominant side from becoming overdeveloped. In fact, I went 2 months with just unilateral shoulder work. It helps to prevent muscular imbalances in my opinion.


If you are using dumbbells and you still have one side growing faster than the other, that points to a physiological problem on your end or a problem in how you are performing the exercise.

You hear of imbalances occurring when using BARBELLS because the stronger side can take over most of the weight. This is not an issue with DUMBBELLS. This is also not usually an issue in people who have been training for years unless they never adjusted their training in the beginning to allow the weaker side to catch up.


I like those exercises a lot, but I still laughed when I read this.

Anywho. If you want bodybuilder shoulders, do bodybuilding exercises. Seated dumbbell presses and SHIPs will do you up just fine and still allow for plenty of heavy weight used. Throw in laterals after and you're golden.


Something I have done recently is drop the bench from my routine all together and just do overhead work. I have made it my new goal to get my Clean and press numbers up as high as possible before I go home. ( I am deployed to Iraq ) Right now I am at 225 for about three on the C+P. I want to get those reps higher though. I am doing shoulders now twice a week. C+P day is my heavy day and 5x5 is working well for that. my second of the week is just standing strict presses out of the rack and I use lighter weight for more reps. My standing strength has gone through the roof so far and I am gonna keep going.

The best part is that people all stop and watch me in the gym because half of these idiots never even seen a clean and press before.