I was at the airport picking up the in-laws last week, just sitting there minding my own business, when I noticed a pretty big guy sitting a few rows away from me. This dude had pretty good size. He had some pretty good arms, a real thick chest and wide shoulders but something just didn't impress me with his physique as a whole. I guess the bodybuilder in me comes out sometimes when I start grading someone's physique, but I couldn't help noticing one thing that just stood out about this guy. He had no traps what so ever. It's like he never trained them. Now, granted this guy may have wanted to have a neck but to me traps really define freakiness. Large Goldberg-like traps just looks awesome. Huge traps really compliment the physique and add a look of thickness to the entire upper body. It's really a sad thing to see when someone is lacking them that badly and I see that a lot.
Deadlifts not only add a lot of thickness to the back, they can add mountains of muscle to the traps as well.
I was at a regional bodybuilding show last weekend and noticed that a few of the competitor's traps were really lagging. These guy's shoulders and backs looked great but again no trap development. In the past few months I have began doing some personal training and I have come to the conclusion that the reason I see a lot of people whose traps are lagging is simple, they just don't know how to train them. Now I am not sitting here writing this thinking I am the "Trap God" or anything like that, heck, up until just a few months ago my traps were lagging too. But I came up with a plan of attack and pounded them into growth. So I am going to let you in on what I discovered on how to add slabs of mass to your traps in a short period of time. By short period of time I mean just a couple of months.
Arnold Definately did not have "No-Neck Syndrome"
My first plan of attack was to increase the amount of times I would train them a week.
I would train them on Tuesday with shoulders and then hit them again on Saturday. By blasting them twice a week that really seemed to make them grow twice as fast. I will train them extremely heavy using simple barbell shrugs on shoulder day using about five to six sets of ten to fifteen reps. Now on Saturday I will cut back on the amount of weight and intensity and will focus more on the burn and stretch of the muscle. On Saturday I will normally do four to five sets of fifteen to twenty reps. I will also incorporate behind the back shrugs and dumbbell shrugs to hit them from a different angle. By hitting them like this it has caused the most growth I have ever experience in such a short period of time.
The second part of my plan was to incorporate a good long stretch at the bottom of every rep or every other rep. This really forces them to grow. It feels like my traps are going to rip off from my neck or from my shoulders when performing these with heavy weights. This is something that I see very few people perform. I learned them from a guy in the gym who never used more than 315lbs on shrugs but had some of the most impressive traps I have ever seen. He would often do no more than six to eight reps but he would stretch at the bottom of each rep for four to five seconds. If you haven't used this technique I recommend you try it, it works great.
The third part of my plan was to increase the amount of weight that I was using. I wanted to go so heavy for two or three sets that it felt like I was lifting a house. So for two or three sets I would use over 500lbs on barbell shrugs. It was so freaking heavy that it felt like my traps were going to rip off my neck or pull my arms out of socket. By using that much weight my traps had no choice, they were going to grow and that's the bottom line because I said so.
Some other little tricks I used that have really helped were the addition of a couple of new exercises. I will do cleans on occasion and they really blast the traps from a completely different angle. When doing cleans start out with very low weight, as it is very easy to injure yourself if preformed incorrectly. I will normally do cleans as my finishing exercise on my Tuesday workout and man does it really knock my traps out. Also doing dead lifts really work well if done properly by arching the back and squeezing the traps together at the top. Dead lifts not only add a lot of thickness to the back, they can add mountains of muscle to the traps as well. Another thing that I realized was that I wasn't training them the right way. I would sometimes use my arms to shrug the weight up and not concentrating on letting my traps do all of the lifting. This to made a huge difference in my growth.
Here are a list of exercises that I use frequently to help build traps that will one day almost touch the ears. My favorite exercise is just basic barbell shrugs; nothing is better for adding slabs of mass. The next favorite one is deadlifts, like I mentioned above if preformed correctly they work great. Cleans, dumbbell shrugs and upright rows are a just a few of the others I will use from time to time. A great finishing movement for traps is using a machine and just rep out until you can't do anymore then do one more, talk about a pump. Finishing with this will have you walking around the gym looking like Goldberg.
The mistake I made in the beginning of my training is what I see so many people making as well. I thought that by training shoulders it was hitting my traps. I always wondered why my traps didn't stand out and it's because I wasn't training properly. That's why it's better to train properly and not worry about how much weight you're lifting. Once I learned that by training traps as it's own individual body part, that's when I made the biggest gains and could really see a change on a weekly basis and now they just keep growing and growing and growing. If your traps are lagging then try the principles that I have mentioned above and see if it sparks new growth for you as it did me.
Good Luck, Train Hard and Get BIG!!
Bigger by the day
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