Building big strong traps is crucial for a symmetrically sculpted upper torso, nothing is more impressive and intimidating than a perfect set of traps sticking out of the top of your t-shirt. Guys with decent-sized arms are a dime a dozen, but to really stand out in the crowd, you need big strong traps.
To build some shirt stretching traps, you have got to isolate this area with a variety of exercises that target the upper, middle and lower section of these muscles. Dedicate a training day to these muscles with the following handful of exercises, and you’ll be busting out some bigger traps in no time.
Exercise #1: The Deadlift
Deadlift is awesome. The best trap building exercise is the deadlift. One need looks no further than the massive trap development of elite powerlifters to see how useful this exercise is at building these intimidating muscles.
Learn how to do the deadlifts, pull more weight using the better form with record-setting powerlifter and natural bodybuilder Layne Norton!
Let the beast show you how it’s done:
Don’t fear the deadlift. Master it with my complete guide!
Exercise #2: Rack Pulls
Let’s really focus on the traps without having to worry about technique and mobility issues, rack pulls are your best bet.
Set a bar on pins in a power rack at so that the bar is slightly above or below your kneecap. If the bar is resting directly against your kneecap at the start, adjust the pins or stand on some plates.
Check out some advice from Furious Pete on how to execute the rack pull like a true champ.
Exercise #3: Barbell Shrug
Shrugs one of the best exercises is to build beastly traps.
Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart while holding barbell straight down at thigh level – palms facing in. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can go as you breathe out and hold the contraction for a second. Tip: Refrain from trying to lift the barbell by using your biceps. Slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
You can also rotate your shoulders as you go up, going in a semicircular motion from front to rear. However, this version is not good for people with shoulder problems. In addition, this exercise can be performed with the barbell behind the back, with dumbbells by the side, a smith machine or with a shrug machine.
Here’s how Scott Herman does it.
Exercise #4: Face Pull
Attach a rope attachment to the high pulley of a cable station. Grasp it overhand, as in a triceps extension, sit your hips back, and pull the cable to the bridge of your nose. Pause, then slowly return to the start position. This dynamic move has huge benefits for both the traps and the rear delts, and also helps to stabilize shoulders and improve posture.
When going heavy use one of your feet as leverage by pushing it against the cable machine.
Here’s how Scott Herman does Face Pull exercise.