13 Workout Moves You Can Try for Massive Traps

As important as the arms, chest, and abs are, there is no denying that one of the key factors in bodybuilding is having well-built and chiseled traps. Traps (or trapezius) are the triangular cluster of muscles on your back that run from the midsection up to the upper shoulders.

The trapezius muscle does not only look good when well-developed, but it also helps you with various day to day things. Since it acts as a stabilizer and the counterbalance for your deltoids, the traps are often involved in most activities. This includes rowing, climbing, throwing, and even as fundamental as keeping a proper posture.

Still, as with other muscle groups, developing your traps can be challenging might need some real dedication and hard work.

Here are thirteen (13) moves that you might want to try:

The Upright Row

This exercise mainly engages your traps and deltoids. However, it also has minor effects on other muscles in your shoulder area and the arms (biceps, forearms, and brachialis).

The fun part about the upright row is that you can choose whether to use a barbell or just dumbbells. The difference is that for barbells, you’ll need to use both arms simultaneously, while dumbbell upright rows only need one arm.

How to do it:

With your barbell in your hands, stand upright, arms and feet shoulder-length apart. The barbell should be at arms-length in front of you. This is your resting position.

When stable, bring the barbell up to your chin. Keep your elbows higher than your hands. Hold the position for a moment, then slowly bring the barbell back to your resting position. Repeat based on your preference.

This also works for dumbbells. Just repeat the action, but with one arm at a time.

The Bent Over Y

This is a versatile workout move that can be done both as a warmup and a proper execution. This mainly engages the upper traps.

How to do it:

Make sure that the dumbbells you use are light. Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. Holding the dumbbells straight down, assume a bent over position. Slowly raise both your arms of you in the shape of the letter Y. Hold the position, and slowly bring your arms down.

The Dumbbell Shrug

The dumbbell shrug is one of the most common techniques to engage your traps. This is also one of the most simple and versatile, as you can use different types of weights.

The dumbbell shrug in particular, obviously, uses dumbbells.

How to do it:

Let a pair of dumbbells hang straight down. Stand, feet shoulder-length apart. Pull your arms upwards, but still keeping it straight, making sure you engage only the trapezius muscles. You should not feel stress on your biceps and triceps. You should feel your traps being squeezed.

The Barbell Shrug

This is one of the variations of the shrug. As the name suggests, you will use a barbell instead of dumbbells. The weight depends on your approach, as long as you don’t feel too much strain on your other muscle groups.

How to do it:

Hold the barbell in front of you, hands shoulder-length apart. Assume the same position you did for the dumbbell shrugs. There is a tendency that you might use your arm muscles when you shrug, so you must be able to distinguish your traps from the other muscle groups.

The Incline Dumbbell Shrug

This is another play on the original dumbbell shrug. This is best when you don’t want any stress on your lower back.

How to do it:

Lie chest-down on a 45° to 60° incline bench. Dumbbells in hand, keep your arms straight down, pointing to the floor. Pull using your back, mainly engaging your traps, keeping your arms straight.

The Dumbbell Jump Shrug

This play on the classic dumbbell shrug makes use of explosive muscular movements. It does not only build your muscles, but it also enhances strength.

How to do it:

In the same classic dumbbell shrug position, bend your knees while keeping your arms straight down. The weights should freely hang from your sides. In one quick movement, thrust your hip as you jump as high as you can while doing a shrug, still keeping your arms straight.

The Overhead Barbell Shrug

While this is still a variation of the barbell shrug, it changes the motion to pushing instead of pulling. This way, your upper traps are more easily targeted and developed.

How to do it:

Grab a barbell. Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. You should hold the barbell with a double underhand grip, your hands at least twice your shoulder length away. Keep that position and do a shrugging motion. You should feel the barbell being pushed upwards.

The Pullup Shrug

This move does not only aim to develop your traps, but also increase your pull-up strength. It’s basically the opposite of the Overhead Barbell Shrug.

How to do it:

Using a pull-up bar, assume a pull-up position. Make sure your feet don’t touch the floor. In one motion, pull your shoulders and neck upwards and then back down. As with some of the other moves so far, the pull-up shrug can benefit from quick explosive movements.

The Barbell Row

This move mainly engages your middle and lower back (traps), as well as your rhomboids. A different spin on a classic, this is relatively easy to do with the right form.

How to do it:

Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. Grab a barbell and hold it with your palms facing down (pronated grip) and bend over. Bring the barbell to your upper abdomen, making sure to engage your back muscles as you do. Keep that position for a beat, and then slowly bring the barbell back down.

The Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is a variation on chest flies. As such, with your trapezius muscles, this exercise also engages other muscle groups such as your chest and arms. The key to this exercise is to squeeze your shoulders together as efficiently as possible.

How to do it:

Grab a pair of dumbbells. The best way to do this is to lie face down on an incline bench (prone position). However, you can also just assume a bent over position. The important thing is that your arms should point towards the floor.

With your palms facing each other, your arms should be slightly bent. Move your arms away from each other and bring them at least at shoulder level. Make sure to keep your arms bent. Hold the position for a second and bring your arms back down.

The Overhead Dumbbell Carry

This is one of the easiest workout moves you can use to develop your traps. This targets mainly, of course, the back muscles.

How to do it:

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them straight over your head. Your palms should face each other. Keep the position and walk forward. Make sure not to move your arms too much. The distance and the speed are up to you.

The Face Pull

This is one of the exercises in this list that require quick and explosive reps. It’s easy, but with the right weight, you should feel the burn on your trapezius muscles.

How to do it:

Attach a rope to a cable machine. Stand about two feet away from it. Hold the ends of the ropes, your arms parallel to the ground. Pull the ropes towards your face. Make sure your shoulder is always above your wrist. Hold the position for a moment, then slowly bring the rope back to the original position.

The Bent-Over Lateral Raise

The last but not least, this exercise mainly targets your middle traps and also engages some other muscle groups.

How to do it:

With a pair of dumbbells on hand, slightly bend your knee and arch your back forward. Palms facing each other, raise your arms sideward until your elbows are at shoulder length. Make sure to squeeze your shoulders as much as possible.

There are a lot more exercises that could help you develop and chisel those high-profile trapezius muscles. These are just some of the best ones. As always, exercise is always better with dedication, hard work, and of course, proper diet.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *