We’ve long since associated well-developed traps with a strong and fit physique.
Together with the upper back and shoulders, the traps put the finishing touches and make the upper body look great, even with clothes on.
But what happens when the traps become too dominant and take over? Well, you open yourself up to poor motor patterns, muscle imbalances, and potential injuries.
But, Why Does Trap Dominance Occur?
There could be many reasons, and no two cases are the same, but the most common culprit for trap dominance (or any muscle group, really) to occur is because other muscles aren’t doing their job.
So, it’s left for the traps to pick up the slack and get the job done.
For a time, that doesn’t pose much of an issue. But eventually, your traps become too developed while the muscles that should be working, aren’t.
This not only creates a visual imbalance to your physique but also leads to all sorts of issues – a restricted range of motion, loss of power and strength, and an increased risk of injury.
How Can We Overcome Trap Dominance for Bodybuilding Success?
The dominance of a given muscle group is most often caused by the lack of engagement of another large muscle within the body. In most cases, learning how to use large muscle groups properly could be a way to fix it.
In the case of trap dominance, the most common issue is the lack of proper engagement in the lats, teres major, pecs, rhomboids, and, in some cases, even the biceps. These muscles are left weak and underdeveloped while the traps slowly take over every movement pattern.
The first potential issue to look at is poor movement pattern and lack of engagement in the right muscles – often brought about from using too much weight. For example, using the ‘shrugging’ motion too much over the ‘rowing’ one – a classic case of ego lifting on the barbell row. This can also be seen on the deadlift where folks unnecessarily shrug the bar up at the top position.
On back movements (think rows and pulldowns), you need to drop the weight and re-introduce proper movement pattern where you fully engage your back muscles and avoid overcompensating with the traps.
On vertical and horizontal pushes, you have to keep your shoulders back and chest up so you can properly engage your shoulder and back muscles while avoiding the overuse of traps.