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 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.
- Attach the rope to a cable machine, and position just slightly higher than eye level.
- Position your body away from the machine so the weight is off the stack.
- Align your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Grasp the rope and pull it towards your chin, pulling your elbows towards the wall behind you.
- Squeeze and contract between your shoulder blades for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
This exercise not only targets your upper traps but also works all three heads of your shoulder.
- Position your hands out wide and hook grip the barbell.
- With the bar hanging just above your waist, shrug that bar up driving from the heels and through the hips.
- Keep your arms and elbows straight and the bar as close to your body as possible.
Barbell shrugs will get you away from the smith machine and wrist wraps, and work on those stabilizers and grip strength.
- Grasp the barbell firmly with both hands, keeping your core tight and engaged the whole time.
- Shrug your shoulders straight up towards your ears, without rotating your shoulders forward or back.
- I like to tell my clients that you want to say “ I don’t know” with your upper body.
Grip the bar a little closer than standard grip width, this will ensure your activating those upper traps to pull the bar up.
- Load the weight on your barbell, and pull while keeping the bar close to your body.
- Knuckles should be pointing towards the floor and elbows toward the sky.
- Pull up to your chin or where it feels comfortable and slowly lower back down.
My favorite! Farmer’s walks will definitely test your grip strength and build up those monster traps you’ve been looking for.
- Pick dumbbells that are heavy enough to challenge you.
- Find an open space on the gym floor or outside where you can walk at least 20 paces.
- Hold onto the dumbbells and walk back and forth without dropping them or putting them down.
Test Your Traps
These exercises can be performed on a shoulder day, individualized, or you can add one of these exercises at the end of each workout routine if you are trying to amp up your Trap muscles.
- High Cable Rope Pulls – 5 sets x 15 reps (Try to contract muscles for two seconds)
- Wide Grip Snatch Shrug – 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
- Barbell Shrugs – 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
- Upright Row – 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
- Farmer’s Walks – 4 sets x 20–pace reps down and back