T Nation

Trap Imbalance! Looks Like Traps Are Shifted to One Side


#1

Hey Guys, Im pretty new to lifting and have found that my traps don’t look symmetrical. I took some photos for progress I found that my traps and neck look like it is shifted to one side (shifted to my right side) because you can see the shape on my left trap but not as much on my right trap. I don’t know if this is my posture (because i have pretty good posture. I don’t slouch and all that) or if one trap is actually bigger than the other. Please help me figure out what the problem is it has been really bugging me lately haha. And can you give me some tips on how i can fix it.
<img src="/uploads/default/original/3X/f/7/f75a3a37685e3911829dee6d51170a3d1992c176.png" width=“288” height=“369”


#2

Your traps are fine bub. Humans aren’t perfectly symmetrical. You don’t have anything to worry about except eating well, lifting sensibly and getting enough sleep.

Now go do some deadlifts and then eat a big steak.


#3

Like 2jar said, you’re pretty normal. Everyone has some level of discrepancy, and that first pic is such an unnatural and awkward pose, it doesn’t make any sense using it as an assessment.

It wouldn’t hurt to do some face pulls, as discussed here, but they’re good for just about everyone, so it’s not like you’re broken and need drastic fixing.


#4

What hand is your dominant hand?


#5

Im right hand dominant


#6

Firstly; does it cause you any discomfort? If not forget about it, keep lifting and enjoy it.

If it does cause shoulder pain go and see a Physio as they will be able to assess you. It is impossible to assess somebody via a few pics on the Internet

My shoulders do the same thing, as have (anecdotally) most of my fellow students who I studied with at uni and many patients I have examined.

I wouldn’t worry it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for it and because you have noticed it and it’s your body you probably notice much more than anybody else will because nobody else will notice unless you ask them to look.

Everybody is a little bit imbalanced. The way your shoulder sits (without examining it) is typical for a right hand dominant shoulder and if you observe closely you’ll find most people’s shoulders are like it to some extent.

Many right (and left) handers have a slight scoliosis favouring their dominant side leading to a lower shoulder due to uneven developmental stresses put upon the bones whilst you were growing up


#7

ok thanks man… but how come on on the last picture my left trap looks like its connected further up my shoulder but my right trap is connected further down my shoulder. Like you can see the shape of my left shoulder more than my right because of the trap. I am standing normally and i am not tilting or anything. i didn’t even notice it until i took that photo. Is it because on trap is bigger than the other? (oh and i’m right handed btw). Thanks for your help man! much appreciated.


#8

Hahaha ok thanks man… will train hard and smart!


#9

Wow that actually makes a lot of sense! Thanks man!! I think its just lately it has been bothering me a lot and the moe i look at it the more uneven it looks because it does not cause any discomfort or pain. I am really right hand dominant so almost everything i do that will involve only one hand i will automatically do with my right hand. Thank you very much for your help man!!!

One more thing, i took this photo just recently just to take another look at my traps and this time its about my shoulders… my left shoulder looks significantly bigger than my right and i dont know how this happened haha… like i do a lot of things with my right hand so it would make sense that my right shoulder would be bigger (my right shoulder is stronger when doing side laterals with dumbells). Is this a muscle imbalance or something else that is wrong with my muscles, if so any tips on how to fix or am i just being paranoid again and there isn’t much difference.

Thanks a lot for all your guys help!!


#10

Hi,
I had something similar; but it led to pins and needles feeling or numbness in my hand.
I saw a physical therapist and he basically said I needed to be conscious of how I held my posture throughout the day. Physically correcting and holding up my shoulder so I stood up straight. This worked quite well and I added BB shrugs to strengthen and “tighten up” the traps, as I hadn’t directly trained them for years they’re quite big enough! Now I just do a couple of weeks now and again to keep my traps in good shape.
(Yes that’s me in my avatar)


#11

Yeah i think i just need to work on my posture because sometimes you can’t really see it at all… btw when you say you had a similar problem do you mean your traps looked like it was shifted to one side or one trap was bigger than the other… oh and can you tell me what your physical therapist said to you about your traps and how you fixed your posture…
Thanks a lot man!!


#12

You have an obvious lateral curve in your spine. It’s the reason for your trap size difference (however minuscule). More importantly, it’s the reason you favor your left hip as opposed to your right hip… Which is the reason why your left glute is fuller than your right. Your right shoulder also noticeably drops lower than your left. You look like a young guy so it won’t effect you immediately, but from a professional stand point, it’s a point of concern… and it should be for you as well in terms of potential and longevity.

That ‘keep lifting and eat a steak’ shit is just tough guy mentality. Easy to say when it isn’t their own spine at stake. No pun intended.


#13

I find it incredible that you can offer such a precise diagnosis over the internet. I can’t believe I thought I was looking at a healthy young man. I’m still a bit unclear on your position, though.

Are you saying that the trainee should avoid eating steak altogether, or just after a deadlift workout?


#14

The boy approached the forum with a concern, a legit one at that. Overriding muscle imbalances with neglect is probably the biggest reasons why trainees (especially new ones) incur obstacles, i.e. injuries and a lack of results. Hence, for him to continue the trend of overlooking his needs and ‘toughing it out’ with more deads and steak probably isn’t the best advice.

Precise diagnosis? Not really. Any one of us, including the TS, will be able to identify what I’ve observed. I am just fortunate enough to be formally trained and worked with it enough times in my profession to know that it is a cause for concern.

Plus, we all know eating steak causes cancer and deadlifts break your back.


#15

What is your profession?

It’s a big jump and actually quite unprofessional to come to those conclusions and suggest an almost definite road to pain and injury by looking at a couple of static photos without taking a thourough subjective/medical history and without even a full physical assessment of this chap - who has absolutely no symptoms apart from a largely unnoticeable (unless looked for) aesthetic niggle.

I feel that pathologising a minor and completely asymptomatic anatomical variance in bone structure due to either congenital or developmental causes is a waste of time and resources - for the individual who has been pathologised and has to pay for treatment out of fear of these ‘future’ problems.

OP, if you do start to feel pain and discomfort whilst lifting get yourself to your GP and get referred to a physiotherapist.

Don’t ask people on the internet because even those of us who claim to be professionals cannot give you reliable and safe info over the Internet. I am a physiotherapist but how do you know that? I could be bull shitting you whilst sitting in my parents basement.

But a bit of common sense:

If you ain’t in pain but you’re shoulders are a little wonky don’t worry and carry on enjoying your life. Life’s too short to worry about a small left/right assymetry.

If you start hurting get yourself assessed.

Simples.


#16

ohh maan never thought it could be a really big problem… and now that you have mentioned it, i can see that my spine kinda slopes to the right side of my body (from the middle pic), is that why my traps and neck look a little bit shifted? Thanks man for pointing that out… now that i know all this i am now worried about how to fix it or at least make sure it doesnt get worse. Do you have any advice in what i should do… like any excercises, stretches, ways i should sleep, sit or anything like that?

Thanks a lot for your help guys!!


#17

Mate, you’re not hurting and you’re not injured. Dont start thinking you’re broken because you have a slight lateral curvature to your spine.

Go to the doc if you are so worried.

This isn’t advice, but if I was you I would not get hung up on it. I’d carry on lifting making sure I use good form. First sign of injury or pain that isn’t normal DOMS I’d stop lifting and get myself to a doctor or physiotherapist if its bad enough - Not the Internet.


#20

nice to have someone who actually knows what the fuck they’re talking about


#21

Quite the superfluous vernacular which in the end has absolutely no benefit towards anyone who speaks normally.

I have never met a health professional that speaks this way to clients, and it is actually a tell tale sign that they indeed have no real world experience.

“I feel that pathologising a minor and completely asymptomatic anatomical variance in bone structure due to either congenital or developmental causes is a waste of time and resources - for the individual who has been pathologised and has to pay for treatment out of fear of these ‘future’ problems.”

asymptomatic anatomical variance… wow. I’ll leave it at that.

OP, what this guy is trying to say, in the most bizarre way, is that it is unnecessary to treat imbalances incurred from your lifting. I would say thousands of chiropractors, corrective exercise specialists, masseuse, and physical therapists would disagree… especially these days with the emphasis on preventative medicine.

He also recommends that you wait for pain to actually do something about it. I equate that to telling someone to keep drinking whiskey until they start getting liver pain.

And to pgtips
"It’s a big jump and actually quite unprofessional to come to those conclusions and suggest an almost definite road to pain and injury by looking at a couple of static photos without taking a thourough subjective/medical history and without even a full physical assessment of this chap - who has absolutely no symptoms apart from a largely unnoticeable (unless looked for) aesthetic niggle."

If you’re curious enough, print out the kids photo and show it to a licensed chiro (not a physio,or pt). They’ll be able to deduce many things, even how his squat might look. Of course having the client in person is ideal, but we have to be able to prospect a list of things even before we work on them.

To OP
No need to be worried. As many have already mentioned, being asymmetrical is inevitable, and at times can even be advantageous (take that with a grain of salt). You’re not gonna die or break your back. But part of injury prevention is keeping ourselves closer to symmetrical than asymmetrical, especially the spine.
What can you do now? Just be aware of it. Perhaps you feel more tightness on your left side when you squat or deadlift. Your balance is probably better on your left side too. Things like that. I would highly suggest you see a chiro and if you do, keep us posted.


#22

LOL

good try
try bigger words to prove your intelligence