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Viewing posts tagged lower trapezius

Building a stronger back (part 4) - preface to the barbell squat

Posted by David Wang 2 years, 9 months ago Comments

Occasionally, you will hear "experts" ask people to not do squats, because it compromises the knee, the lumbar spine and is generally considered a very risky exercise. Horror stories of debilitating injuries are often attached to such statements. Frankly, I think such statements are over-simplified and taken out-of-context, as most health-related info are nowadays, and in this case, misinformation with exercise tips are definitely not out of occlusion. The truth is squatting (with or without added weights) is essential to lower body health and is even a great tool to rehabilitate the injured body. However, it is not to say that everyone will instantly benefit from the exercise and that preventative measures need not be taken to avoid injuries. There are always exceptions to the rule. Rather, my purpose for this entry is to approach the topic of squat safety objectively and to present my interpretation of the risks and benefits of the barbell squat.



How to build a stronger neck (part 2)

Posted by David Wang 3 years, 9 months ago Comments

The head, neck and upper body as one single cohesive structure is like a big ol'tree with its crown, trunk and roots. For the tree to have a full crown of leaves, ubiquitous branches and a thick sturdy trunk, the tree must have roots firmly anchored into the soil. Likewise, for the neck to be strong and to withold the weight of the head, its roots (the trapezius muscle and others, image below) must also be strong. As shown, the trapezius muscle is posterior portion of the root that supports an upright posture of the body. It is a thick and large piece of musculature that spans from the base of the skull to the shoulders and latches onto the spine. The middle and lower portion of the trapezius muscle each draws the shoulder blade backwards and downwards towards the spine. Amongst those with a weak neck, the said muscle (along with the deep neck flexor described in the previous entires) is most often the weakest link, and in this entry, we will be talking about strengthening of these two portions of the trapezius muscle. Further, the strengthening of this muscle group should be an advanced routine that follows the deep neck flexor exercise mentioned here, with the purposes to build a stronger neck and upperback.