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Last Updated on January 7, 2021

Construct a stronger and thicker back with these tried-and-true moves.

Get Terrafic Traps

If you want monster traps, you’ll have to lift some monster weight. Building the trap area proportionally takes a variety of exercises that stimulate your upper, middle, and lower trapezius muscles. Working that slab of meat running down the side of your neck and across your front delts is going to take more work than just shrugs. These are the five best exercises that attack those muscles, strengthen the joints, and grow like the Hulk.


Face Pulls

Face Pull

Face Pulls activate the lower and mid trap muscles prior to any rowing or upper back movement, it’s also great for stabilizing and stimulating the scapula.

  1. Attach the rope to a cable machine, and position just slightly higher than eye level.
  2. Position your body away from the machine so the weight is off the stack.
  3. Align your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  4. Grasp the rope and pull it towards your chin, pulling your elbows towards the wall behind you.
  5. Squeeze and contract between your shoulder blades for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.


Snatch-Grip Shrug

This exercise not only targets your upper traps but also works all three heads of your shoulder.

  1. Position your hands out wide and hook grip the barbell.
  2. With the bar hanging just above your waist, shrug that bar up driving from the heels and through the hips.
  3. Keep your arms and elbows straight and  the bar as close to your body as possible.


Barbell Shrugs

Barbell shrugs will get you away from the smith machine and wrist wraps, and work on those stabilizers and grip strength.

  1. Grasp the barbell firmly with both hands, keeping your core tight and engaged the whole time.
  2. Shrug your shoulders straight up towards your ears, without rotating your shoulders forward or back.
  3. I like to tell my clients that you want to say “ I don’t know” with your upper body.


Upright Row

Cable Upright Row

Grip the bar a little closer than standard grip width, this will ensure your activating those upper traps to pull the bar up.

  1. Load the weight on your barbell, and pull while keeping the bar close to your body.
  2. Knuckles should be pointing towards the floor and elbows toward the sky.
  3. Pull up to your chin or where it feels comfortable and slowly lower back down.


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