The Trap 3 Superman is an exercise used to develop the lower oblique fibers of the trapezius known as the “trap 3”. The trap 3 is of particular value to overall shoulder girdle health, and plays a supportive role in proper posture of the upper back. The trap 3 acts as an important synergist in overhead exercise, whether pushing or pulling.
To begin the exercise, adjust a bench to 60° of incline. Technical note: the bench in our images is not at 60°; it is set at 45°. A proper incline for this exercise will therefore be slightly higher. When teaching my clients how to set bench inclinations, I will tell them: “if the horizontal and vertical imaginary lines around the long part of the bench look like a square; it is 45°. If they look like a vertically arranged rectangle, it is 60°. If they look like a horizontally arranged rectangle, it is 30°”.
Next, grasp a set of dumbbells and face prone on the bench as shown. You may place the feet on the floor, but this frequently results in the bench sliding out from under you. Kneeling on the bench as shown is therefore best, unless your benches are bolted to the floor.
Assume a chest up posture, and fix your sternum – the breastplate – to the bench. Inhale. As you exhale, swing the DB’s out and away from you on an oblique angle. The DB’s should describe an arc through the range of motion, until they reach the top position as shown in the following images. It is imperative to keep the elbows in a fixed position during the movement; however, they should not be locked.
As you reach the apex of the lift, make sure that the midline of your arms breaks the plane of the ear hole. If it does not, either the weight is too heavy; you are too fatigued; or there is adaptive shortening of the opposing musculature. If you are unsure, feel free to contact us for guidance.
Lastly, inhale as you slowly descend to the start position, maintaining a fixed, but not locked, elbow, and moving only through the shoulders.
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