Tag Archives: trap exercises

Building big traps- Trap exercises

Building big traps- Trap exercises


What makes a strong physique?

When i was younger I used to watch a lot of strongman competitions (and wrestling occasionally) and although not all these athletes were in incredible shape they all had one thing in common and that was they all had giant trapezius muscles or Trapswrestler-bill-goldberg-neck-300x162. What these massive traps did was frame their physique and give the immediate appearance of strength.


So why do so many people neglect their traps or struggle to add mass to them?

Traps like calves are often missed in most peoples workouts, or are thrown in with three sets of a heavy shrug movement. Unless you are genetically gifted this will not be enough to get you shirt bulging traps. People neglect their traps as it is a muscle that many find difficult and unrewarding to train. It is also trained incorrectly like calves and therefore even if you are throwing in a trap exercise into your workout, you will not be producing enough stimulation to illicit a growth response.

Building big traps- Trap exercises

1) Shrugs-everyone’s favourite exercise when it comes to traps.  My advice is focus on the range of movement. Use a light weight and make sure you are letting your shoulder depress (go down) all the way and then elevate  them so that they are as high as they can go, try and touch your shoulders to your ears. (as with calves a lot of people use a weight that is too heavy and shorten the range of movement). I focus on the squeeze at the top of the movement, doing slow and steady repetitions focusing on the pump/burn rather than how much weight i can shift.

I like to pyramid up on shrugs and then do a drop set at the end, or i will superset shrugs with another trap exercise like upright rows. I will do anywhere between 10-20 reps each set and on shrugs may do 5-7 sets till my traps are burning. To cause growth in the muscle you need to stimulate the muscle enough to illicit a response.

Building big traps- Trap exercises

When I do shrugs I do them either behind me or I will hold the weight to my side. I don’t understand people who ONLY shrug with the weight in front of them. Ask yourself ‘Where are your traps‘.

2) Heavy compound exercises- 

A strong physique is based around the three main lifts- squats, deadlifts and bench press, and you can bet all the strongman athletes and wrestlers I used to watch were basing much of their training on these exercises. Your traps will be worked during heavy compound movements such as the bench and squat as you are retracting and squeezing them statically while they’re under heavy tension during the lift. You will build bigger traps if you make sure to focus on these compound movements.

3) Variety is key

Remember your body is an amazing machine that will adapt to stimulation over time. It is therefore important to alter the stimulation in order to avoid plateaus.

Building big traps- Trap exercises

Other exercises that hit your traps are:

Upright rowsuprightbbrow2s
Face pulls 681_2

Also change up your grip on the shrugs so do side shrugs, rear shrugs and front shrugs to keep your body guessing ..


Building big traps- Trap exercises