T Nation

Upper Traps W/Out Vertical Lifts?


#1

Here's the thing - I injured my lower back 2 years ago, pretty badly at the time, but it's been healing, slowly but constantly. I resumed lifting a few weeks ago. I'm still reluctant to lift heavy stuff vertically, I'm just increasing the load slowly, watching what happens. As of right now, 85 ... 90 lb while standing vertical seem to not cause any problems long-term (on the shorter term I do get some protests from the injured parts, but they get over it quickly).

In general, this is not a problem, as there are many exercises which do not put vertical pressure on the spine, so I can do solid workouts and I make good progress overall. The injured site continues to slowly get better, so prospects look good.

But the problem is, of course, my upper traps have vanished. And I'm not sure how to go about training them back into a reasonable shape.

Before the injury, the traps seemed to grow all by themselves. If I felt the need to give them a kick in the butt, I would just do shrugs with a shitload of pounds, and they responded very quickly. From what I hear and read, that's always the case, nobody ever has had problems with the upper traps.

Except me now.

I can't do heavy shrugs, not right now anyway. I tried one-arm dumbbell shrugs, supporting the upper body with the other arm. They're kind of awkward, and even with one arm I'm still getting close to or beyond the limit of what my back can support standing vertical.

I'll try some dumbbell raise variations (reverse overhead lateral raises, front raises), but those are obviously focused on the delts, with the traps a secondary target.

Any suggestions? I'm kind of out of ideas.


#2

Have you tried DB shrugs while face down on an incline bench?


#3

Face pulls?


#4

I agree with face pulls, 10+ reps with slow controlled motion fry my traps and rear delts.