The 5 BEST Exercises To Build Bigger Traps

The 5 BEST Exercises To Build Bigger Traps

clock-circular-outlinePosted 24 Jun 2019

An important muscle for both form and function, but often overlooked, is the traps muscle.

When your time is limited, staring yourself in the ye during shrugs in the mirror may not be a top priority, but improving our strength in the traps muscle can help with aesthetics and other lifts too!

Building mass and strength in your traps not only creates the signature bodybuilder aesthetic, but it also helps maintain correct posture and allows for efficient movement alongside playing a key roll with your heavy lifts.

Exercises that train your traps muscles are a really important addition to your upper body workout routine, and we've got the best traps exercises for you to try.

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Head to the Gymshark Training App today, and put everything you've learnt into practice. Add the exercises below to build your own session, or explore the workout library for a little extra inspo...

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What Are Traps Muscles?

Traps refer to the 'Trapezius' muscle that extends from the base of your neck, across your shoulders, and down to the middle of your back. It's a superficial muscle that makes up a large area of your upper back – making it easy to notice those all-important gains!

What Do The Traps Do?

Despite the traps muscle having a limited range of motion, the purpose of the trapezius muscle remains significant – assisting with neck, head, shoulder, and torso movements along with stabilizing the spine and maintaining proper posture.

Should You Train Traps?

Training your back alone will help strengthen and grow your traps, but dependent on your goals, this may not develop the traps enough.

Just like any other muscle, the traps should be targeted as part of a well-rounded training program – focussing on strength and progressive overload across a variety of traps exercises.

Use the trapezius muscle exercises in this article to help determine how to train your traps best.

How To Workout Your Traps?

To workout your Trapezius muscle, it's important to target the muscles with exercises that allow a full range of motion, such as shrugs, along with isometric exercises where the traps are stabilizing, such as the deadlift - which is one of the best compound exercises.

Generally, traps exercises are incorporated into back day, alongside exercises such as the barbell row, as they are technically a back muscle.

However, dependent on your training split, combining shoulders and traps is another great way to go when it comes to traps workouts, and it may give you a little more time to focus specifically on your traps.

The best exercises for traps

We've put together a lift of the best exercises for traps so that you can build bigger, stronger traps muscles.

Some of the best exercises for traps include;

  1. Shrugs

  2. Barbell Deadlift

  3. Rack Pulls

  4. Upright Rows

  5. Face pulls

Scroll down to learn more about each traps exercise, and how to do them.

1. Shrugs

It wouldn’t be a list of the best exercises for traps if we didn’t mention shrugs. When you think of training your traps, shrugs are probably one of the first exercises that come to mind, and for good reason.

This exercise is great for activating your upper and middle traps and help to build mass, strength and muscular endurance within the traps muscle.

Shrugs are a great exercise no matter your ability, as they can be done with anything from dumbbells and barbells to cables or a trap bar – making them the perfect traps exercise if you’re short on equipment or don’t fancy waiting around for the barbell.

The shrug exercise can make for a great upper body finisher, isolating the traps muscles with a unique movement.

Pick an appropriate weight and aim for 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions, controlling the movement to really feel the burn.

2. Barbell Deadlift

If we’re talking about the best ways to build a specific muscle group, then deadlifts are on most lists, and we’re not even sorry about it.

When performed correctly, deadlifting is one of the best compound exercises out there, demanding so much, from so many muscle groups in the body. This lift requires your entire back to be engaged, including your traps muscles.

Yes, the traps aren't the main focus of this lift, but the beauty of the deadlift is that all three parts of the trapezius muscle are challenged.

Start your workout with deadlifts, end it with shrugs and trust us, your traps will have got a serious pump from two of the best traps exercises.

3. Rack pulls

If you don’t know what rack pulls are, it's pretty much the top half of a deadlift; rather than lifting the bar from the floor, you pull from the rack at roughly knee height.

So why are they featuring as well as a deadlift? Well, as you are pulling from a higher point when compared to a conventional deadlift, rack pulls concentrate on the upper portion fo the deadlift movement, which demands more from the upper body, back and traps muscles.

Therefore, if today isn't leg day, you can target your traps with rack pulls rather than a full, conventional deadlift. They won’t give you the same full-body strength development, but rack pulls are definitely up there with the best exercises for traps.

4. Upright rows

Upright rows are a great exercise to add to your traps muscle workout routine, and if you're currently skipping them, it's definitely time to give this exercise a little love. Not only are they going to help you build strength and mass in your traps, but they also challenge your anterior and rear deltoids.

Linked to shoulder pain and causing shoulder impingement, the upright row is an exercise that needs to be performed correctly to avoid issues.

Start light and master the movement, focusing on the muscular contraction in a higher rep range. The upright row is also an essential part of the clean and press, so if you're an olympic lifter, isolating this movement may help you throw more weight above your head!

If you do struggle with shoulder pain, this may be one to avoid.

5. Face pulls

Face pulls are often overlooked when it comes to upper body exercises. However, they are an excellent exercise when it comes to building muscle, correcting posture and promoting good overall shoulder health.

Similar to upright rows, face pulls are a shoulder exercise that also engages the traps muscles.

They need to be performed in a controlled motion, ensuring the muscles are loaded correctly is key to avoiding shoulder joint issues or discomfort.

Add them in at the end of your workout for a finisher that is guaranteed to leave your traps muscles ruined… in a good way.

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Like to train traps on shoulder day? Try these shoulder exercises too! Or Create Your Own Traps Muscle Workout

We've given you five of the best traps exercises for building bigger, more developed traps muscles. Now it's time to put them to the test.

Plan your own workout from the five traps exercises above, or find more exercises on the Gymshark Training App.

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GymsharkBy Gymshark

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