The back is a vast surface area made up of many smaller muscle groups which decorate the skeleton. Building a powerful back looks Spartan, it makes you stand tall and look as though you mean business – in short, a big back is a bloody great asset for any man to have. There are several areas of the back which can be developed and you could in fact do a piece on each area. Today we are going to focus on the upper back and travel as far down as the middle, there is good reason for this which we will share later on. No wings today I am afraid, instead shirt popping traps.
Many people think the traps account for the bits of muscle which pop up like a Cobra’s neck either side of your head. They are much more than that, they travel approximately a third of the way down your back and play a VITAL role in stabilising your posture as well as giving you an impressive dense look from the rear.
Most bodybuilders will have a huge imbalance between the development of their upper traps (the bits which pop like a Cobra’s neck) and their lower traps which are often very weak. It only takes a trap 3 dumbbell variant to expose this weakness where their dumbbell selection drops by about 95%!! This over time can and probably will lead to shoulder issues due to tight anterior deltoids and pecs.
With that said here is a 3 step plan to powerful, impressive and functional trap development.
1 – Power Shrugs
Traps are a powerful muscle, they like to get involved in the heavy stuff and as a result you should give them what they want. Power shrugs are an epic way to develop powerful looking and powerful working traps. Just like a regular shrug, bend your knees 3-4’’ and push back up as you shrug. In essence it is cheating but it works and as long as it is controlled it’s worth it!
2 – Angles
When you shrug make sure you use different angles. Front shrugs, side shrugs and behind the back shrugs are all worth doing with variations in the way you role your shoulders. Isometrics are a treat to add into the mix to really make them burn!!
3 – Trap 3
Don’t set yourself up for future shoulder issues and injuries to do with your posture – build a solid foundation and it will show! Use light dumbbells to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps of a trap 3 extension with a 2 second rep tempo. Gradually increase the weight you use, isolate the muscle at all times!
One of the biggest issues with back training is the imbalances we see develop, these steps should help prevent you joining that statistic.