Large traps can give your upper back and shoulders a rounded appearance, and, while this may be a fitness goal for some, it can be a hindrance to others. Big traps muscles may cause women to look too masculine and also have the potential to create muscle imbalances.
Decrease the size of your traps muscle by adjusting your workout to target other muscles and adjusting your diet to prevent additional muscle gain.
Targeting Large Traps
Your trapezius muscle is diamond-shaped and starts at the base of your skull and extends to midway down your back and widens out to your shoulders. Large traps muscles are most noticeable on the upper traps at the top of the shoulders.
The reason you develop large traps is based on several factors. It may be the result of over-targeting them in your workouts. Women are less likely to develop bulky muscles because they have less testosterone than men, but how much you bulk up is largely determined by your genetics, says the American Council on Exercise.
Muscles atrophy when they are not used, but it is not possible to stop using your traps completely because they are activated anytime you do a movement or exercise with your arm or shoulder. However, you can stop all exercises that focus primarily on your traps, and this may help you begin to decrease the size of the muscle.
A muscle imbalance occurs when one muscle is overdeveloped compared to the other muscles surrounding the joint. This may cause pain or injury as the muscles are not properly supporting and moving the joints, states ACE.
Safely Reducing Muscle Bulk
If you find that your workout routine is causing your traps to be bulkier than you would like, switch up your routine. Balance the appearance of the traps by doing exercises that target the deltoids such as the shoulder press or upright row. Maintain good posture when working out and throughout the day by keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed down.
Weight training may result in added bulk if you have a caloric surplus. Monitor your diet and caloric intake closely to make sure you reach your goals.
Maintain a healthy diet and make sure you are eating enough calories to maintain weight or even decrease your caloric intake slightly.
- ExRx.net: "Shoulder Exercise Menu"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Is Your Workout Giving You a Stiff Neck?"
- American Council on Exercise: "Building Muscle for Women"
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: "Use It or Lose It: Understanding Muscle Atrophy"
- American Council on Exercise: "Muscle Imbalance | 6 Things to Know About Muscle Imbalances"