The trapezius muscle, located in the shoulders, are the ones responsible for giving our backs the greatly desired ‘v-shape’. The ‘trap’ is made up of three sections; the upper section is mainly responsible for the shrugging motion and the other two sections are used for motions similar to those required for rowing. The trap counter balances the chest and deltoids, thus helping us retain proper posture. A strong trap might help reduce the chances of an injury occurring.
Upright rows will help work out the upper trapezius, as well as the shoulder girdle, traps and deltoids. Keep you arms about shoulder width apart while holding the barbell. Then, stand up straight - make sure to keep your elbows above your hands - and pull the barbell up towards your shoulders. Raise the barbell until you are holding it just under the line of the chin. Remain in this position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
Side lateral raises will work out the medial deltoids, front deltoids and the forearms. To do this exercise, first of all hold the dumbbells in front of the body, with the palms of the hand facing each other. Elbows should remain bent. Gently raise the dumbbells to the side and upwards. Stop lifting when the dumbbells are raised to just above shoulder level. Hold them there for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
For the lower trap and middle trap, try a reverse dumbbell fly. Take a pair of dumbbells in your hand. Then, bend over at the waist. While bending, keep the knees slightly bent. Make sure the palms of your hands are facing each other while you are holding the dumbbells; bend the elbows as well. After bending, slowly lift the dumbbells to the back and upwards with a semi circular motion. Hold the dumbbells in this position for several seconds.
Shoulder shrugs are a good way to work on the trap muscle. This exercise works out not just the shoulders but also the forearms. You will need a barbell or dumbbell for this exercise. You should hold the barbell with arms spread to about shoulder width. Bring the barbell up to about an arms length in front of the body, ensuring the arms remain straight. Allow the shoulder to sag; in this way, you should be able to feel a strain in the trap. Hold this pose for a few seconds.
Each exercise should be performed systematically. Warm up with one or two sets of a particular exercise. Then, after warming up you can perform two or three heavy sets. Each set should involve between eight and twelve reps. Trap workouts should not be undertaken by those who suffer from back or shoulder problems