The spine of the human body is bordered by several muscle groups, including the intertransversarii muscles and the multifidus spinae. Other examples of major muscles are the trapezius muscle and the large latissimus dorsi.
- The intertransversarii are small muscles located between the transverse processes of the vertebrae. It facilitate movement between the individual vertebrae.
- The multifidus spinae is a very thin muscle that fills up the groove on either side of the spinous processes of the vertebrae. It helps stabilize joints in the spine and slows down the degeneration of the joint structures.
- Trapezius is a large muscle that runs from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and to the shoulder-blade. This is a muscle that supports the arm and moves the shoulder-blade. 7
- Latissumus dorsi is a large and flat dorso-lateral muscle located on the trunk of the human body (posterior to the arm). It forms a triangle between the shoulder and the hip. Parts of it is covered by the trapezius muscle.
This exercise is known as the dumbbell shrug, but you can do it with bands, barbells or cables instead if you prefer. The exercise targets the trapezius muscle (commonly referred to as traps).
- Stand up and hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging straight down. Your body and the bars of the dumbbells should form a 90 degree angle.
- Elevate your shoulders as high as possible as if you were shrugging. Exhale while doing this. It’s important that your arms remain extended. Do not use your biceps to lift the dumbbells; in this exercise it is your shoulders that should do the lifting by moving upwards in a shrug.
- Hold the contraction for a second.
- Lower your shoulder back to their normal position.
- Repeat as desired.
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row
This exercise requires dumbbells or similar (see tips below). It targets the trapezius muscle, but biceps and shoulders are also involved. This exercise is generally not recommended for people suffering from shoulder problems. Also, it’s important not to use too heavy dumbbells since this can easily lead to improper execution of the exercise, which in turn can cause shoulder injury.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand. The distance between your hands should be somewhat shorter than shoulder width.
- Let the dumbbells rest on the top of your thighs, while your arms are extended with a slight bend at the elbows. Don’t forget to keep your back straight. This is the starting position for this exercise.
- As you breathe out, use your side shoulders to lift the dumbbells. The dumbbells should be kept close to your body as you move them up. Make sure it is your elbows that are driving the motion. If your elbows are lower than your forearms, you’re doing it wrong.
- Keep raising the dumbbells until they are nearly at the same level as your chin.
- Pause for a second.
- While breathing in, slowly lower the dumbbells again until you’re back in starting position.
Instead of dumbbells, an e-z bar or a straight bar attached to a low pulley can be used.
Kettlebell Sumo High Pull
This exercise requires a kettlebell. It targets the traps, but also involves shoulders, adductors, quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. It is not recommended for beginners.
- Place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
- Position your feet wide apart.
- Hold on to the handle of the kettleball with both hands.
- Bend your knees and position your hips as far back as possible. This is the starting position for this exercise.
- Extend your hips and knees while pulling the kettlebell up to shoulder level. Make sure your elbows rise as you lift the kettlebell.
- Lower the kettleball to get back to starting position.