9 Intense Trap Exercises – How to Build Bigger Traps

What Are Your Traps?

Also known as the trapezius muscle, your traps span from your mid-back all the way up to your neck. The traps are one of the most prominent and visible muscles in your upper back.

Your traps primarily function to move your shoulder blades in different directions. However, they also play important roles in promoting scapular stability and supporting your posture.

Benefits of Trap Exercises

Exercises that target the traps are extremely valuable. Training the traps should be prioritized for the following reasons: 

1. Strength and Size Gains

These trap exercises will help develop strength and size in the traps, as they fully activate the muscle fibers of the upper back. Building strength in this area will help you improve your strength in variety of compound exercises such as the barbell squat and deadlift. 

In addition, stronger traps can improve your performance in sports that rely upon upper body stability. Truth be told, no matter how you compete, these trap exercises can give you an extra edge over your competition.

2. Better Posture  

Hours of sitting in chairs or driving can cause a weakness in your upper back muscles. This often causes a back position with your shoulders rounded and your head slouched.

To prevent long term issues with posture, it is important to maintain a strong upper back. 

The following trap exercises will help you build a thicker band of muscles in your upper back, which allows you to maintain proper posture with ease. These exercises can be extremely useful for correcting and maintaining proper posture in the long run.

3. Improved Aesthetics

Often times, weightlifters and bodybuilders alike tend to neglect the traps in favor of larger muscles such as the lats or pecs. Building muscle evenly throughout the body is not only more physically appealing. It is generally safer to promote balance as well.

These 9 trap exercises can help you build stronger traps and achieve a broad, defined upper body appearance.

9 Intense Trap Exercises

1. Neutral Dumbbell Shrug

Setup:

a) Grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing each other.

b) Assume a standing position with your back straight and your core engaged.

Action:

a) Contract your traps to bring your shoulders up and slightly back at the same time.

b) Squeeze your traps hard at the top, pause for a moment, then slowly bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

c) Repeat this motion for your desired number of repetitions.

dumbbell shrug exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

2. Close Grip Resistance Band Upright Row

Setup: 

a) Assume a standing position on a resistance band with your feet roughly hip width apart.

b) Grasp the handles of the resistance band with your palms towards you bring the handles relatively close together.

Action:

a) Contract your traps to drive the handles upwards. Be sure to keep your elbows above your wrists.

b) Squeeze your traps hard at the top and slowly return to the starting position

c) and repeat!

close grip upright row resistance band exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

3. Behind Kettlebell Shrug

Setup:

a) Assume a sturdy standing position with your back straight.

b) Grab a kettlebell with both hands and bring it behind your back. Your palms should be facing behind you.

Action:

a) Squeeze your shoulder blades together and shrug upwards.

b) Squeeze your traps hard at the top and return to the starting position. 

c) Repeat this motion for your desired number of reps.

behind shrug kettlebell - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

4. Barbell Shrug

Setup:

a) Set up the barbell on a rack just below your waist level.

b) Assume a standing position in front of the barbell.

c) Tighten your abs and firmly grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.

Action:

b) Contract your traps to bring your shoulders up and slightly back at the same time.

c) Slowly bring the barbell back to the starting position.

d) Repeat this motion for your desired number of repetitions.

front shrug barbell exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

5. Floppy Divers

Setup:

a) Lie on your stomach on the ground.

b) Extend your arms as far as you can out in front of you with your hands together.

Action:

a) Bring your chest off the ground and lift your arms up and down.

b) Be sure to keep constant tension on your traps and repeat this up and down motion!

floppy diver bodyweight exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

6. Closed Bent Front Trap Raise

Setup:

a) Assume a standing position with your feet roughly shoulder width apart.

b) Hold one dumbbell vertically with both hands on the shaft.

c) Hinge at the waist until your back makes a 45-degree angle. Engage your core.

Action:

a) While keeping your arms straight, contract your traps to raise the dumbbell up until it is line with your head.

b) Squeeze your traps at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

c) Keep tension in your core and repeat!

closed bent front trap raise - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

7. Upright Prayer Rows

Setup:

a) Assume a standing position with your feet roughly shoulder width apart.  

b) Push your hands together in a prayer formation as hard as you can

Action:

a) While keeping your elbows above your wrists, contract your traps to shrug upwards. 

b) Squeeze your traps hard at the top and return to the starting position.

c) Keep pushing your hands together and repeat!

upright prayer row exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

8. Lying Dumbbell Superman Raise

Setup:

a) Lie on your stomach with your hands above your head.

b) Grasp a pair of dumbbells vertically with your palms facing each other.

Action:

a) Keeping your feet on the ground, contract your traps to raise the dumbbells off the ground. 

b) Squeeze your traps hard at the top and return to the starting position.

c)Maintain tightness in your traps and repeat!

Lying superman raise dumbbell - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

    

9. Dumbbell Speed Front Shrugs

Setup

a) Grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing towards you. Make sure the dumbbells are touching each other in front of your body.

b) Assume a standing position with your back straight and your core engaged.

Action:

a) Contract your traps to bring your shoulders up and slightly back at the same time.

b) Return to the starting position and keep shrugging at a fast pace!

speed front shrugs dumbbells exercise anabolic aliens - 9 Intense Trap Exercises - How to Build Bigger Traps

Conclusion

You can complete these exercises individually to learn how to activate your traps or you can combine them to perform a complete trap workout. However, you utilize these exercises, be sure to stretch your body before and afterward to minimize your risk of injury and to maximize your results!

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