Best Moves for Building Big Traps


Not everybody agrees about which day is best for trapezius training. Some say shoulder day, and others say back day. If truth be told, you’re going to hit your traps on both of these days; but if you want my opinion, I find I am better able to focus on my traps while I train shoulders. My back day is usually focused on my mid-back and lats. On shoulder day, on the other hand, I get to squeeze my traps for added benefit.

To build those big-boy traps, here are some of my favorite exercises. Add two of these five movements to your normal shoulder routine:

Towering Traps Training

The Shrug (3 sets of 50 reps)shrugs-min

You can perform this using a straight Olympic bar, dumbbells, the diamond/hex/trap bar, or even cables. The type of weight you use doesn’t matter, but how you perform the movement is what separates the men from the boys.

Obviously, I like the heavy volume approach. Picking the correct weight is the trick: let’s say you can deadlift that bar 10 times but the 11th rep would be ridiculously taxing and almost unachievable. If this is the case, then I believe you have the correct weight.

Once you select a weight, pick up the bar and then let it hang so you can feel a stretch in your neck and traps. You should feel some pulling, but no discomfort. When you pull up on the bar, make sure you focus hard on your traps. Don’t use your triceps or biceps and try to limit your shoulder involvement. Use that mind-muscle connection. At the top of the movement, squeeze those traps.

This amount of volume is tough, but you’re in this for the long haul. You may need a cheerleading squad to help you finish. Once you complete the first 50 reps, pat yourself on the back and regroup for the next two sets.