It’s been a while since I deadlifted. Did it yesterday and today I’m on fire with soreness, especially in the traps and upper back area. Now, I do upper back work and I hit the traps with heavy shrugs (DB and barbell) and those lower trap raises Chris and TC wrote about in one of those “Exercises You’ve Never Tried” articles. So, my question is, what is it about deadlifting that apparently hits the trap area so well? I mean, I didn’t expect that kind of soreness since I do other trap/upper back work. It was like I never train that area judging by this soreness! I find this really odd because the traps just stabilize mainly and don’t really even move (like a shrugging motion), they’re pretty much static in the deadlift. Any thoughts?
The soreness comes from holding onto a really heavy weight while pickin’ it up! The reason you got sore, despite auxillary trap work, is this:
Shrugs = Weanie, Deads = Manly
Note, I’m not saying you are a weanie. Welcome back to the DeadZone!
I’ve always thought of deadlifts being a type of “negative” for traps. I have NEVER seen anyone gain using shrugs. I’ve recently started a “negatives” routine for shrugs that I’m hoping will pay off.
I never do shrugs or anything, have been doing deadlifts since the beginning and I get comments on my traps all the time. I think I did shrugs one time when trying an Ian King routine.
I get more sore around the lats, rear delt area after a heavy session of deads. Oh, and also the glutes/hams. I have performed heavy shrugs (both DB and bar), for 5x5 - and I liked 'em.
But how I love deadlifts.
It really reminded me of the importance of deads. I can shrug over 100 lb DBs in each hand but nothing hits me like deads. I was just curious as to why since you really don’t “move” the traps when deadlifting?
I’ve deadlifted over 400 for reps in the past, it had just been a while since I’ve done them. Nice reminder when I woke up this morning! Soreness isn’t necessary or the main goal of lifting of course, but when you get sore it kinda shows you that you’ve been neglecting something.
Paul, I think the answer is in your last post. Load on the traps with dumbell shrugs: 200 lbs. Load on the traps with deadlifts: 400 lbs. That’s how I’ve always looked at it, anyway.
I always thought shrugs were meant to hit the upper traps, while deadlifts hits the lower traps right in the middle of the back. That would make shrugs a valid exercise too. Right?
I bet a lot of it has to do with the traps stabilizing the upper back and shoulder girdle since stability in these areas is key, but personally when I do deadlifts I do clean dead lifts, and as the weight gets heavier, like above four hundred pounds, it becomes tougher to shrug, but i still retract my shoulder blades, and I find this has an effect on how involved the upper back is.
GOtta love the dead lifts. I rarely do shrugs at all. Traps are one of my best muscles. I get compliments on them quite a bit. Moral: Keep on deadlifting.
ya my traps have become a bit more pronouced, also my lower back is like a freakin canyon… awesome
Same thing here. Started D-lifting again, and wondered why my traps were so freakin sore. How does everyone deadlift? Pause at the bottom with weight on the ground, or Continuous motion (like a squat). Also, fave rep ranges… Thanks!
How do you guys grip the barbell? Do you use the torque grip(I don’t know what its called its just when you have one overhand grip and one underhand grip) or do you use just an overhand grip?? Thank you
Because you’re holding the bar the traps are involved. In faith, Coach Stronski.
Most powerlifters use an alternate grip.
I personally use a double overhand hook grip. This grip is favoured by olympic lifters.
For pictures of the hook grip. go to:
I have never had a problem holding onto weights in the mid and highs 400s using this grip. You do need to build up the pain tolerance slowly though
Ah man you know, I hate when I dont lof on for a few days. Good question(S). The traps are vital in deadlifting, I tore one a few years ago, and oh my lord the pain was incredible! If you want an idea of how inportant the traps are in Deadliftig, just tear one…You cant even lift the bar!!! They are the the Anchors if you will, and the weight is hanging starting from there! I prefer an Alteranting grip with one hand suppinated (sic) I also deadlift with a conventional style. As far as pausing during the actual workout, or continuing like a squat. I prefer to stop, set the bar down, stand back up, and reset my position, but that is because I am really working on my competition form. Mind you I dont rest, I move fast, and set back up quickly!
Fellow Deadlifters…I’ve been having a problem recently with my deads. What I’ve done is insituted a full pause at the bottom of each rep as I had noticed that the first phase is my weakest. However, since I’ve done this, I’m having huge problems with relatively light poundages (and I didn’t do a big bar bounce or anything before). I’m convinced that it’s my flexibility that’s restricting my ability to “set my back” for the first phase and therefore get a good strong pull from the floor. Do you guys (or gals) use any specific drills to enhance the bottom phase of the lift…including specific stretching exercises?, or do you think that it’s just a matter of time before my poundages start going up again? Let me know your thoughts.
Just came back from a max effort dead session. To enhance the bottom phase, I stand on an elevated surface for the lift. For flexibility, concentrate on your whole rear kinetic chains, not just hammies and calves.
I use deadlifts on a reebok step. friday i pulled 515 off the step which represented a 40 lb pr. gotta love the mag 10.
Cam, if your start is your weak point, it’s a good idea to reset or pause after every rep as you’ve been doing. Front squats are a great assist for improving your start, these will improve leg drive. You can also switch to snatch-grip DL’s or DL’s off of a podium for a while as well.