Recently, ‘right-angled shoulders’ are popular among young people. As proof of this, it is easy to find content that introduces how to make a right angle shoulder on various platforms. However, modern people who use computers or smartphones for long periods of time tend to have ’round shoulders’ rather than right-angled shoulders. In addition, if the trapezius is elevated, the shoulder appears narrower, and in a straight shoulder, it is further away.
trapezius | Source: Getty Image Bank
trapezius muscles, why do they stand tall?
The trapezius muscle is a large triangular muscle that extends from the neck to the shoulder and thoracic spine. It is involved in various movements around the scapula and plays a role in stabilizing the neck and shoulders. The trapezius muscle is largely divided into upper, middle, and lower parts, and the muscle that rises next to the neck that we can see from the front is the upper trapezius. In other words, the main culprit that makes the neck look short and the shoulders look narrow is the ‘upper trapezius muscle’.
Why do the upper trapezius muscles, which many people consider a headache, get bigger? The main cause is poor posture. In particular, when using a computer or smartphone, there are many people who have a posture in which their shoulders are pushed forward. If you maintain this posture for a long time, the tension in the upper trapezius increases and shortens. And this makes the trapezius muscles bundle up easily and overdevelop.
Even if you exercise in the wrong posture, it gets bigger. When performing upper body exercises such as shoulders or chest, if the posture is incorrect or the trapezius muscle is involved due to wrong force, the trapezius muscle can become large. In particular, when lifting dumbbells excessively high during shoulder exercises or when the strength of the core muscles is weak during sit-ups, the trapezius muscles are likely to be involved. Due to the nature of the muscles that get stronger the more you use them, the trapezius muscles are also inevitably developed.
If the trapezius muscles are developed and united, aesthetic problems arise, but there is also a risk of shoulder pain and headaches that interfere with daily life. Therefore, if the trapezius muscle is united, it should be managed steadily with proper exercise and lifestyle improvement.
How to make a smooth shoulder line
In order to create smooth, square shoulders, you must maintain a straight posture. When using digital devices, use them at eye level and be careful not to overextend your neck. In particular, there are many people who lie down and look down at their smartphones, but this puts strain on the trapezius muscles as well as the back, neck, shoulder, and arm muscles, so you should avoid it.
It is good to do stretching regularly. The trapezius muscle is one of the most well-joined muscles in our body, so it’s good to loosen it up through stretching. In addition, if the shoulders or back are bent, the tension of the trapezius muscles increases, so if you do stretching to spread them, the icing on the cake.
upper trapezius stretch
Upper trapezius stretching｜Source: Getty Image Bank
① Sit with your back straight and raise the top of your head in the direction of the sky.
② After lifting one shoulder, tilt the neck in the opposite direction.
③ Gently press the head with the hand on the side where the neck is tilted.
④ Spread the arm on the opposite side of the tilted head down, exhale and lower the raised shoulder.
⑤ Maintain the posture for 15 seconds, and proceed in the same direction in the opposite direction.
Pull the towel behind your head
Pull the towel behind your head｜Source: Getty Image Bank
① Hold a towel in both hands and raise both arms above your head. At this time, be careful not to lift the trapezius muscles together.
② Hold the towel at both ends and lower it behind your back while keeping it taut.
③ After holding for about 10 seconds, slowly raise both arms again.
Back stretch｜Source: Getty Image Bank
① Place a foam roller behind your back and lift your hips.
② Keep the abdomen tense and move it up and down.
③ After placing the foam roller on the upper back, slowly tilt your back back.
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