If you’re looking to build some shirt stretching traps then you need to be performing these TWO EXERCISES in your weekly routine! Just like any muscle group, you will need to work with heavy weights and progressive overload in order to see growth and only a few trap exercises really allow you to maximize your chances of building muscle. Remember, your traps are more than just the tops of your shoulders and to see a lot growth you need to target the upper, middle and lower sections of your traps throughout your workout.
The first exercise is the BARBELL SHRUG. Aside from traps you will also be activating your erector spinae muscles (postural muscles) which will act as stabilizers throughout the movement. To begin, grab the barbell with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Once in place raise your shoulders to your ears, pause for a second, then return to the starting position and repeat for reps. This is NOT a momentum exercise so DO NOT bounce the barbell. Make sure you feel every contraction on every rep and to help with this, visualize pulling the barbell with your shoulders and not your hands. In fact, to help eliminate using your biceps in the movement, try using wrist wraps to hold your hands in place.
NOTE: You can also perform this movement on a smith machine for a bit more trap isolation if you have a hard time keeping your arms straight during your reps.
BARBELL UPRIGHT ROW
The second exercise is the barbell upright row. This is a great exercise for building massive traps but there is a very high risk of shoulder impingement IF you grab the barbell too close. Now the key word here is “IF”, so as long as you pay attention and perform this movement properly you will have no shoulder issues.
To begin, grab the barbell with your hands shoulder width or just outside of shoulder width apart. The mistake most people make is grabbing the barbell with their hands TOO CLOSE. The closer your hands are together the more the movement will focus on your anterior deltoids and less on your traps. Once in place, you are going to visualize lifting the barbell up to your chin by pulling up with your elbows and making sure your elbow always stay above your wrists. As soon as the barbell reaches your chin, pause for a moment and then return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
NOTE: You can also perform this movement on a smith machine for more trap isolation if you have a hard time holding onto the barbell throughout the entire set.
ADD THESE EXERCISES TO YOUR ROUTINE!
Most gym goers prefer to train their traps on back or shoulder day. Whatever the case may be, just make sure when you incorporate these two exercises into your routine, you perform 4 sets of 10 reps per exercise.