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Working out tight trapezoids(11 posts)

Working out tight trapezoidsKristin
May 27, 2003 8:07 AM
My traps always start getting tight this time of year because I'm still not used to this road bike posture. Since massage is still not covered by insurance, I'm wondering if there are ways to work my traps on my own. If I don't work out the atusions (sp?) eventually I'll end up with lots of pain and a neck that won't turn much.
I don't know what atusions are, much less how to spell it, butdzrider
May 27, 2003 8:27 AM
If my traps are stiff the day after riding I take a broom handle, grab it with my hands spread as wide as I can, and swing it back and forth over my head and down to my thighs.
After doing a few to loosen up I bring my hands closer together, which makes it harder. For me, motion works better than massage, which has always felt good, but never had a lasting effect.
the 2 best exercises for your trapezoidstheweasonator
May 27, 2003 8:45 AM
Typically there are two good exercises specifically for traps.
1. Shrugs...typically done with dumbbells. Stand upright with dumbbells (start light..maybe 10-15 lbs per dumbbell) at your sides and then shrug your shoulders up for 8-12 reps for 3 sets. For added burn, you can hold the shrug for 3-5 seconds, this might also increase stamina.

2. Upright rows..typically done with a barbell while standing.. maybe start with the bar only or 5 lbs on each end. Pick up the bar in the middle, so that hands are touching each other or within 6 inches of each other and pull the bar up across your body up to you shoulder level, allowing your elbows to bend outwards. Same thing 8-12 reps for 3 sets. You can do the exercise slower to increase stamina.

You might not feel these exercises until the next day. But don't go too hard or you will be hurting. I think the traps are slow-twitch muscles (like abs and calves), which means you can exercise them more frequently (every other day) than you would like quads, biceps, and pecs.

Note though the upright rows primarily works back and traps are worked as a part of the entire back..(so you might feel it in your scapula...the meat between your shoulder blades) The shrugs are predominantly an isolation of the traps

You might also want to go to

and they have some very good tips and diagrams on various exercises.
compound vs isolation exercisesColnagoFE
May 27, 2003 8:57 AM
upright rows can be hell on your rotators. shrugs can be bad too. also avoid behind the neck military presses. I'd personally leave out the specfic trap exercises and stick to the more compound ones like deadlifts, squats, chest press, pullups, shoulder press, sit ups. Nothing wrong with isolation exercises, but most of us don't have hours to spend in the gym and the compound ones work a bunch of muscles at once. If you are gonna do the specific ones, make sure you get in the compound ones first. Isolation exercises are more like the gravy on top of your main meal of compounds. If you have time they are great, but they aren't truly needed for most and too many isolations can lead to overtraining. i wouldn't put a ton of faith in muscle and fitness mag either. they are mostly out to sell supplements. in the industry they are known as "muscle and fiction".
the 2 best exercises for your trapezoidsdzrider
May 27, 2003 8:58 AM
The question is whether strengthening the traps is the issue for cyclists. The position we ride in has the traps extended like the top of a pushup or dip rather than contracted like at the top of an upright row. The soreness may come from maintaining that extension, not from lack of strength in contracting the muscle.
That sounds about rightKristin
May 27, 2003 9:14 AM
I think I muddled the question by using the term "workout" in lieu of "massage." I'm really talking about needing to loosen up these muscles because they sat in an uncomfy position for 3.5 hours yesterday. 2 summers ago I did nothing until August--when I suddenly couldn't get out of bed.
Could it be?filtersweep
May 27, 2003 10:04 AM
Are you sure this isn't a fit issue? Or a posture issue? Or a setup issue?

I've had a seat angle slip over time, which caused problems, or switched pedal/cleat combinations that cause hip rocking/back pain. Then there is the issue that early spring posture/comfort is very different than late season comfort.

Has anything on your setup changed? Have YOU changed? Are you able to ride with elbows bent, hands not in a deathgrip on the bars? Can you visualize relaxing your body while you ride?

Just some thoughts, but I really don't think this is a "strength" issue.
I need to clarify. "Working out" in this case meansKristin
May 27, 2003 9:11 AM
To massage and "work out" the knots (atusions?), not to exercise them.
Yes, that's why I suggested swinging a broom handle.dzrider
May 27, 2003 9:29 AM
The weight is insignificant. It's taking the traps through a long range of gentle motion. The exercise is more like a ballistic stretching exercise than weight training.
I need to clarify. "Working out" in this case meanscincy1
May 28, 2003 8:35 AM
Do you mean "adhesions"? If someone diagnosed your discomfort as adhesions (unnatural connection of muscle tissue at points other than the ligaments)and you believe that diagnosis, soft tissue massage is the only real way to free those adhesions and restore full range of motion. Soft tissue massage can be administered by physical therapists or some skilled sports massage therapists. Go see a doctor first, get a range of motion and muscle function evaluation from a licensed PT and see where that leads you. I suffer from some stiffness in the neck and traps after long rides but a warm shower and a little spouse massage makes it better quickly.
Not sure. Like knots in your muscle?Kristin
May 28, 2003 8:55 AM
God I'd hate to have to go back to PT. I just can't afford to keep that up for long. Totally money pit. I'm not sure if it was adhesions, but I'm talking about knotted muscles. Just bumps in the muscle that need to be worked out. Currently they aren't large and I'm not in pain, but they will continue to grow. And when I went to PT before--when my neck pain was bad--they did not do any massage, they just gave me stretches and assigned me MONTHS of sessions.

Spousal massage? Whats that? I may have to get me one of those...spouse that is. I'll be sure to shop for a model that includes the massage function.