The traps are often misunderstood as people think they’re just the upper portion of the muscle, while in reality they run down to about the middle of the back having 3 parts, the upper traps, middle, and lower. The upper traps are often over trained with heavy shrugs while the mid trap/lower traps undertrained leaving the upper traps to compensate in some movements. This can be seen when the back has a “gap in between the shoulder blades” due to over trained lats, teres and upper traps in comparison to the mid/lower trap. This can potentially lead to scapular instability/ dyskinesis and can affect how effective your workouts are.
This is why it’s important to target the mid back as much as you do the lats and traps. To do so, you must learn to engage those muscles first, sometimes when a muscle isn’t used for a while others will take over the motion. This is why first you need to train your muscle to be able to work properly, this can be done by first actively learning to protract and retract the scapula. Next you’re going to use resistance bands to add resistance to the retractions, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together. Your arm should move as one unit with the shoulder blade, otherwise you’re compensating with the deltoid and the triceps. It is important to depress the shoulder blades as the upper traps can begin to compensate and “shrug the weight”
Once you’re able to activate the traps properly you can begin to do overhand barbell rows, the internal rotation of the arm helps decrease the activation of the lat and can help further isolate the traps. When doing rows focus on eccentrically protracting the shoulder blades as you lower the weight and actively retracting the shoulder blades to help lift the weight. Be mindful of how far back you extend the arms to avoid shoulder pinching.