Follow Through – The Trapezius

The standard exercises cover the essentials when working out your back and shoulders. Latissimus dorsi with the lateral pull down,  Rhomboids with seated rows,  the medial deltoids with the military press, anterior with back flys, but what completes the back to shoulder flow of motion? This applies to rowers, football players, hockey players to name a few. A fluid motion through a slap shot, a long distance pass or stroke requires a full follow through for optimal athletic efficiency. It also provides a strong base for a level head when tackling another player (wrestlers read this!).

Exercise Muscle focus Equipment
Clean & Press Trapezius Olympic bar + plates or dumbbells

The clean and press is the first step to achieving this which will develop not only your anterior and medial deltoids, but that connective muscle to your rippling back, the trapezius. Its primary purpose is to hold your shoulders in place. Now, if you are to follow through on a long distance pass for example, and you have well developed shoulders, but no stability to guide your rotator cuff and surrounding muscles, your aim will be less than accurate.

With your hands grasping the barbell, palms inwards and knuckles to the ground, pull the bar vertically parallel up your body by bending at the elbow. Your elbows should be pointing outwards from your body until there is a straight line from elbow to elbow, with the bar in between (Keep your elbows up!).  From here, shift your elbows beneath the bar (a swift jerk may be necessary for heavy lifters, shifting their entire body beneath the bar; the clean and jerk). Once your elbows are underneath the bar and pointing outwards, press the bar up above your head as you would do when executing the barbell shoulder press. Then reverse the movements until the bar is once again hanging from your straight arms in front of you. This is one repetition.

This is a portion of the complete clean-and-press which involves a thorough full body workout. I will be covering that in my next post.


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