Trap exercises are any exercises that work the upper trapezius muscles. This muscle is responsible for shoulder elevation and adduction. The best exercises to work this muscle are those that involve pulling motions, such as rows and pull-ups. Below, you will find the top 5 exercises that you should be doing to build bigger traps.
The Landmine Press
The landmine press is one of the best exercises for building bigger traps because it incorporates both shoulder and upper-trap recruitment. To perform this exercise simply grab a barbell or landmines rods at about chest height. Make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart with the knees slightly bent to prevent lower back strain. Keep your core tight while maintaining good posture. With palms facing inward grip the bar firmly hen push upwards until your arms are straightened in front of your shoulders (just past parallel to the floor). Pause, slowly return to starting position, and repeat for desired reps/set.
If you do not have access to landmine rods, you can substitute this exercise with dumbbell presses. Make sure to push the dumbbells up past your forehead (closer to your ear) for maximal effectiveness.
The barbell shrug is another great trap-builder because of its ease and simplicity; it allows lifters of all skill levels to perform the movement properly and safely using good form. This exercise requires nothing more than a loaded bar attached to a power rack or squat stand. To begin, simply lift the bar off the rack by driving through your heels keeping your arms fully extended while holding onto the bar with both hands on either side of the plate. Onceshrugging height” has been reached, pause for a second and slowly lower the weight back down. Repeat for desired reps/set.
Seated Cable Rows
The seated cable row is an excellent exercise for targeting the upper traps because it allows you to use heavier weights than what you would normally be able to handle with other exercises such as barbell shrugs or dumbbell shrugs. To perform this exercise, sit down facing the attached cable row machine and grab the handles with an overhand grip. Row the weight towards your chest by driving through your heels and squeezing your shoulder blades together (hold for a second at peak contraction). Pause then slowly release the weight back to starting position. Repeat for desired/set.
Upright Barbell Row
The upright barbell row is an extremely beneficial compound exercise that targets the upper back, traps, and arms. To begin this movement, simply stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart underneath a loaded bar attached on a power rack or squat stand. Bend over until your torso is perpendicular to the floor with knees slightly bent to prevent lower back strain. Grab the bar using about an overhand grip then lift it upwards by driving through your heels while simultaneously squeezing your shoulder blades together (hold for a second at peak contraction). Pause then lower weight back down following same motion as reps/set desired.
Barbell Shrugs with Bands
Even though shrugs are normally performed with dumbbells or barbells, you can also use the addition of bands for added resistance. This is an excellent variation if you are looking to overload your traps with a lot more weight than what you would normally be able to lift. To perform this exercise attach bands to the bottom of each plate then load up two barbells on either side of the power rack or squat stand. Grab each barbell with an overhand grip and hold them at arm’s length as to if wearing a pair of suspenders (or straps). Shrug by driving through your heels and lifting the shoulders as high as possible while keeping your arms extended throughout the movement. Make sure that you squeeze your shoulder blades together at peak contraction for the desired effect.