By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II
Posterior deltoids and trapezius muscles give us a broad-shouldered look, that leaves many in awe of such a finely sculpted upper back or the “V-tapered look.” The trapezius (traps) muscle is made-up of three separate regions. The upper portion of the trapezius is mainly responsible for shrugging your shoulders. The middle and lower regions are used during rowing exercises. Exercises that focus on the traps help to counterbalance the chest and front (anterior) deltoids. This leads to improved posture and reduces the risk of injury.
Upright Cable Row
- Grasp a straight bar cable attachment that is attached to a low pulley with palms facing your thighs. Grip the cable slightly less than shoulder width. Start with the bar resting on top of your thighs, your arms extended with a slight bend at the elbows and your back straight.
- Use your shoulders to lift the cable bar as you exhale. The bar should be close to the body as you move it up. Continue to lift it until it nearly touches your chin. While lifting the bar, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms. Be sure to keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.
- Lower the bar back down slowly to the starting position. Repeat.
Kettlebell Sumo High Pull
- Place a kettlebell on the ground between your feet. Position your feet in a wide stance, and grasp the kettlebell with two hands. To start set your hips back as far as possible, with your knees bent. Keep your chest and head up.
- Begin by extending the hips and knees, simultaneously pulling the kettlebell to your shoulders, raising your elbows as you do so. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Repeat.
- Stand erect with a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing your torso), arms extended on the sides.
- Lift the dumbbells by elevating the shoulders as high as possible while you exhale. Hold the contraction at the top for a second. Emphasize arms extended at all times. Only the shoulders should be moving up and down.
- Lower the dumbbells back to the original position. Repeat.
Bent Over Lateral Raises
- While holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with knees slightly bent and back arched forward.
- With palms facing torso, extend arms out to sides with the elbows slightly bent.
- Raise the arms until elbows are at shoulder height and arms are parallel to the floor.
- Try to bring the shoulder blades as close together as possible when the arms are raised.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat.
Staggered Feet Face Pulls
- Attach a rope to a cable machine and stagger your feet as in a natural walking position.
- Grab the rope with both hands and pull the weight towards your face.
- Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground, and your elbows higher than your wrists throughout movement.
- Slowly bring the rope back to the starting position. Repeat.
Superman’s With Dumbbells
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended from your shoulders laterally, palms face down holding the dumbbells, and legs straight, toes pointed
- Engage your core muscles and lift your arms laterally and legs several inches into the air.
- Keep your neck stable and straight.
- Hold the move for a second or two and lower your arms and legs to the starting position. Repeat.
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