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How Can I Build My Lagging Traps?

A conditioning specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science. His articles will help you!

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How Can I Build My Lagging Traps?

I need traps! I've been training for a solid year, and I'm very happy with my routine and gains in both size and strength in every part of my body with the exception of the traps. I think the problem is that I don't know any exercises to really work them except shrugs. Every time I ask someone about it they say "try doing shrugs".

As far as my routine goes:

Mon: Chest and Triceps
Tues: Cardio
Wed: Back and Biceps
Thurs: Cardio
Fri: Quads and Shoulders
Sat: Off
Sun: Hamstrings and Calves.

Sometimes I swap Saturdays and Sundays depending on how I feel. My reps always range between 6 and 12, sets vary depending on the exercise. I'm 23 years old at 5'9" and 185 lbs. with about 12% bodyfat. I don't take any supplements besides a multi-vitamin and protein shakes to make up for what my diet lacks, and I try to get in at least 1 gram of protien for every pound of body weight. Also I don't go to a gym, I workout at home with freeweights, but I do have a smith machine with a lat tower and 500 lbs of olympic weights, so I have plenty of stuff to work with.

The reason most suggest shrugs is because the portion of the traps you are referring are used mostly to bring the shoulders closer to the ears. Therefore, shrugging is a popular movement for such development. Shrugs can be performed with dumbbells at the side, in front, or even behind. They can also be used with a barbell either in front or back. Other exercises that many people may not be so familiar with are clean and snatch pull variations. These Olympic lift variations are very simple yet there is a great deal of explosive shrugging being done. Because the Olympic lifts require a great deal of explosive shrugging you will find Weightlifters have impressive upper trap development. These variations are covered in my Weightlifting 101 article series.

Many lifters also forget the amount of trap work that is done during many deadlift variations as well. By continously employing these variations your traps will receive a great deal of training. Another easy way, yet very effective, for training the upper traps is to finish a workout with a weighted GPP exercise like the Farmer's Walk with either dumbbells or a wheel barrow.

There are many ways to approach such a problem which I hope is evident from my above suggestions. In addition, you may utilize supersets of variations of shrugs. You may try something such as the following:

A1. Dumbbell Shrug, hands behind body 3 sets of 4-6 reps rest 0
A2. Dumbbell Shrug, hands by side 3 sets of 4-6 reps rest 0
A3. Dumbbell Shrug, hands in front 3 sets of 4-6 reps rest 180 seconds

Try these methods that I have mentioned and watch your upper traps improve dramatically.

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