“Man, I’m jealous of your traps!” a fellow gym member told me yesterday. I was a bit surprised and then laughed and said thanks. I hadn’t even realized that they looked noteworthy to be honest. I’ve gotten comments and compliments on them before, but they are not something I spend time thinking about. I could have offered to sell him my super effective, magic trap building program, but the truth is I never work them. I mean NEVER as in I haven’t done a trap workout in about 5 years! I use to train them once a year as my own private joke, but I don’t even do that anymore. Once upon a time I did hit them regularly and hard. I started training them when I first got into lifting just like I trained everything else. They responded quite well from the beginning. But after awhile, I realized that they we’re activated simply by the other movements I regularly did so training them directly didn’t make sense and would even overdevelop them. I had simply been blessed genetically with traps that grew easily.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. There’s good and bad to that. It’s easy to get caught up in the things we do well or that come easily at the expensive of putting the time and effort into figuring out how to acomplish the more difficult challenges. How often do you see the guy with big arms training arms, or the strong bencher doing bench press? Why does it always seem to be leg day for the guy with the best legs in the gym, or ab day for the one who already has a six pack? It’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s just as easy to assume that someone with a gifted area knows more about training that area. “How do I get a back like yours? What’s your arm program? How do you stay lean all the time, can you do my diet?”
When we see something we want, it’s easy to get seduced by our imagination into believing that we’ve found answers that are not there. The truth is, the guy who had to struggle to build arms probably knows more about training arms than the guy with the massive hooks. The guy who had to fight to build up his strength probably studied and tried more strength training programs than someone who was strong out the box. The guy/girl who has to fight to keep their weight under control knows way more about dieting than the ones who’ve been lean all their life. Sometimes, the apparently obvious isn’t exactly true.
The lessons from all this are simple, and I’ve tried to apply them to my training for as long as I can remember. Always keep learning. You’re never as good as you could be. Comparing yourself to others isn’t relevant. Keep pushing to get better. Understand and accept that you will have challenges, if not limits. Try to stay balanced in fitness and in life. Strive to figure out where you’re going by remembering where you came from. Always stay humble, your very worst day could seem like a blessing to someone else.