Towering Traps | 4 Exercises For Building Bigger, Better Traps

The Trapezius muscle is one of the largest muscles on the back! Due to this, it would almost seem silly to not isolate the muscle during your weekly training routine. However, exercises are often dismissed as a seperate muscle to train –  they’re often worked mainly in your shoulder workouts as they share similar movements.

However, it’s important to note that traps assist in correct posture, in addition to adding overall roundness and thickness to a physique.

As a result, traps should not be neglected, but rather individually trained!

What are your traps?  | The Trapezius Muscle

Traps is a shortened term for the trapezius muscle. To put it simple, it has it’s name because it’s shaped like a trapezium by the neck and upper back.

They are split into three sections: The upper traps, the middle traps, and the lower traps.

? The upper traps:

Worked by elevating the shoulders and not the neck: e.g. performing dumbbell shrugs.

? The middle fibres:

Developed by pulling the shoulder blades – (Scapula retraction.) 

? The lower traps:

Developed by drawing the shoulder blades downwards, as you would when performing a lat pull down.

– (Scapula depression and Scapula retraction.)

Now you know a little bit more about your traps, and how they work.

Here are five exercises that will help you build and develop this set of muscles!

Exercise #1: Barbell upright row


? Grab a barbell and load with the necessary weight to complete your repetitions. This may not require any further weight to be added to the barbell.

? Grip the bar at shoulder width apart, while the bar itself should be resting on your thighs.

? Use your shoulders to lift the barbell as your exhale.

? Continue to lift the bar just before it reaches your chin.

? Lower the barbell back down to the starting position.

Rest: 60 seconds | Reps: 8  Sets: 4

Exercise Variation

You can use an EZ bar to perform this exercise, or you can use dumbbells too.

Exercise #2Cable shrugs


Grab a straight bar attachment and put it in place so that it is on the lowest possible section.

? Stand upright, while standing close to the bar.

? While your arms are extended, with your palms facing the ground you have your starting position.

? Lift the bar upwards with your shoulder as you would with the dumbbell shrug, and slowly go back to your starting position after squeezing the contraction.

Rest: 60 seconds | Reps: 8  Sets: 4


You can do this single arm with a cable attachment, or you can even do it with Myprotein resistance bands.

Exercise #3: Dumbbell shrug 


? Grab an appropriate sized pair of dumbbells for this exercise.

? Stand in an upright position with the dumbbells by your side. This will be your starting position.

? Lift upwards by pushing your shoulders towards your ears, and squeeze for a couple of seconds.

? Slowly release, as you go back to your starting position, and this is one repetition.

Rest: 60 seconds | Reps: 8  Sets: 4


Perform the exercise with one dumbbell at a time so you can really concentrate on the form of each repetition.

Exercise #4: Kettlebell sumo high pull 


? Grab a kettlebell, and place it on the ground between your feet.

? Stand upright with your feet at just over shoulder width apart.

? Essentially perform a squat. Make sure your back’s straight, while keeping your head and chest up.

? Then, extend your knees and hips while lifting the kettlebell up at the same time to your shoulders: make sure you raise your elbows at this point too.

? Go back to where the kettlebell is on the floor, while your squatting down, and that is your first repetition complete.

Rest: 60 seconds |  Reps: 8  Sets: 4


There isn’t too many ways you can vary this exercise. But, as with all exercises you can perform a drop set here.

Grab another kettlebell that’s 20 per cent lighter than the current weight you’re using, and perform immediately and until failure again.

Take home message

Your traps are very vulnerable to injury if the forms not correct. So, while performing these exercises will develop your traps, ensure that you are performing the exercise correctly to prevent any needless injury.

And, don’t forget to add variation to your workout to prevent boredom or hitting a plateau!

Now, work them traps!




Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Writer and expert

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