Monday, July 28, 2008

Joe Columbo & the case of the weak lower trap

Vern Gambetta, weary from traveling the globe; spreading the gospel of athletic development. Steps off the stage & gets hit in the gut with, "What's your favorite lower trap exercise?!". Dazed, he reaches into his holster and fires back with, "what difference does it make?!"

Great answer, but what did he mean? Hold on, let me go find a phone booth, put my old stinky overcoat on, and stick that foul stogy in my mouth. OK, now I'm ready.

Why did that person ask that question? My intuition tells me he probably already knows good lower trap exercises that hypertrophy, yet don't work. How does a weak lower trap manifest itself? Scapular malposition. An elevated (sagittal plane) inferior scapular angle and probably a subacromial impingement.

What do we know so far? ""What difference does it make"= "A muscle's maximum force production is insignificant in relation to the timing and rate of force development"-Thein & Body '98"". Let's dig deeper.

What would block the neural drive to the muscle? I go back into my Datsun for my musculoskeletal screen toolbox.

-a hypomobile T-spine?

-tight lats?

-tight levator scaps?

- a hypertonic ipsilateral pec minor?

I interrogate yet deeper. What about the athlete's exercise regimen? Does it include exercises that interfere with the LT's length tension relationships? Does it include heavy shrugs? Isolated ab floor work? Are his "lower trap" exercises making the problem worse? Remember, traditional remedial one's such as the superman and the wall slide lack an eccentric component. Muscles are highly adaptable- you can train them to do anything. But is it the right thing?

Well, got to go. The wife is making meat loaf tonight (walk into the sunset with bad 70's wa-wa guitar and synthesizers).


Juan Ruiz-Tagle said...

Great blog!, small suggestion put the images on the upper right, they will read better, a editor gave me that suggestion.
Keep the good work!

Juan RT

sportsmedguy23 said...


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