How To Get 3D Shoulders And Monstrous Traps!

In this article, Bryan Locke talks massive shoulders and traps. Learn about each muscle and how to avoid injury.

Within the next few months, I will have a complete set of articles, each one dedicated to a different muscle group. Each article will include a super-set and an effective strength building exercise to help you blast through any plateaus and into new and impressive muscular growth and definition.

The deltoids. One of those muscles that will either make or break a well balanced symmetrical body. The shoulders are a fairly simple muscle group to work, but in order to build them into thick, fully developed boulders, you must study the anatomy of the shoulder. It is very important to understand the anatomy of a muscle before you begin developing it, to ensure you are stimulating all of its dimensions. For example, although the delts have the look of one round muscle, there is actually three separate parts or dimensions that make up the entire muscle: the anterior (front) head, the medial (middle) head, and the posterior (rear) head. The most common mistake that I've seen people make while developing the deltoids is being completely unaware that the posterior head even exists and therefore causing them to develop unaesthetic shoulders. This ends up being very counter productive for any bodybuilder with the intent of becoming competitive since building an aesthetic, symmetrical, well defined body is the key to winning competitions. The anterior and medial heads of the delt should be thick and round, while the posterior head should be large and square. The main advantage of having huge, well developed delts is that they give the entire upper body the illusion of being much bigger then it actually is, therefore giving you a major advantage in competition. Remember: judges very rarely are aware of your stats.

The Traps and shoulders are two of my favorite muscle groups to work. I train them, like all muscles, with one ultimate goal, to Shock and Destroy. Considering the fact that shoulders are a fairly small muscle group, I find that training them along with back muscles is very effective since the majority if not all of the back exercises indirectly stimulate the shoulders. Therefore it makes sense to train them with back, allowing them to attain the most effective stimulation possible.

Super-sets: Alternating back and forth between two exercises until the desired number of sets and reps are completed. This is one of the most valuable tools for breaking plateaus and getting maximum growth in your training. It makes more sense to work towards avoiding a plateau than it does reaching one, and then having to work out of it. To avoid plateaus, simply incorporate a super-set for each of your body parts every two weeks, but depending on your muscles response to exercise, you may need it every week. From my training, I've found that super setting dumbbell presses and dumbbell shoulder shrugs is very effective in developing huge shoulders and traps. I like to use dumbbells as opposed to barbells because it does not restrict the angles which you can work the muscle. Although this works well for me, like anything, you should experiment with different exercises, number of sets and reps and the resistance used until you find what works best for you.

I believe that the majority of your upper body pressing power comes from your shoulders, weather it be bench press or shoulder presses. In order to build a up to a big bench press, it is VERY important that you train the delts for extreme strength. The most effective strength building exercise for the shoulders is the standing military press. Execute this exercise in front of your head to avoid shoulder injury.

Injury! This is the worst of several possible consequences involved with sloppy lifting. Although I stated that the shoulders are fairly easy to stimulate and train, they are even easier to seriously injure. Treat your shoulders as you would your best friend because all upper body exercise movements revolve around the shoulders. This includes the muscles, tendons, and rotator cuff. If you do by chance injure one or both, Protect and Rebuild. Never work an injured body part, especially the shoulders.

    My Current Shoulder And Trap Workout:


  • Standing Military Press --------------- 3 sets of 6 reps
  • Lying Lateral Raises ------------------ 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Press ------------------------ 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises -------------------- 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Rear Delt Cable Extensions ---------- 4 sets of 12 reps


  • Cable Shrugs --------------------------- 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Shoulder Shrugs ----------------------- 4 sets of 20 reps

** As I mentioned in the article, the delts also receive indirect stimulation from several of the back exercises**

Train safely, effectively and most importantly, keep it natural.