There are many ways you can minimize your risk of injury—stretching before you work out, ensuring you have the correct posture before you lift weights, and strengthening your trapezius muscle! As one of the most powerful muscles in your body, the trapezius (which is the muscle that spans most of your upper back and down to the middle of your spine) acts as the powerhouse of your upper back—and for several different reasons. Keep reading to learn why strengthening it is so vital to your health, overall strength and stamina.
It Supports Your Neck
If you’ve ever seen a big, beefy guy at the gym with huge biceps and whose shoulders seem to connect with one meaty, solid muscle and wondered what that was about (a pronounced trapezius can look odd), here’s the truth: you’re witnessing someone who has excellent neck support, great upper back support and even better spinal column stamina and support. Strengthening your trapezius muscle also allows you to build up a greater resistance to injury. When you deadlift, are you worried about pulling a muscle, or throwing out your back? Strengthening your trapezius supports your shoulders, which allows you to better secure your neck and altogether minimize your risk of injury!
It Allows You to Be a Better Competitor
Take a look at your favorite athlete, and chances are, he/she will have a beautifully pronounced trapezius muscle for all to see! Hockey players in particular have well defined trap muscles, and it’s for good reason. The stronger their shoulders are (which supports the trapezius muscles), the more powerfully they can pass, shoot and stickhandle. Basketball players depend on a defined trap, as well. Each time they shoot the ball or pass to an opponent, they depend on a wrist to shoulder to trap movement—the stronger the trapezius muscle, the better their game!
Here’s some exercises you can do today, whether you want to decrease your risk of injury in the weight room or you want to improve your odds of winning a friendly game of basketball with your buddies:
- Do more deadlifts. This is one of the best exercises that will allow you to target your traps. To challenge them even further than the traditional deadlift, use a heavier weight and lift from knee level.
- This is one of the easiest exercises you’ll find and one of the best ways to focus only on your traps! Simply stand holding the bar with your legs shoulder width apart. Shrug your shoulders as high as possible, hold for one second and lift your shoulders slowly back down.
No matter what your fitness goals are, developing a stronger trapezius is a great way to improve your upper body strength, build up more support for your neck and become a better competitor!