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How to Build Traps? The Secret Formula For Huge Traps

Not everybody agrees about which day is best for trapezius training. Some say shoulder day, and others say back day. If truth be told, you're going to hit your traps on both of these days; but if you want my opinion, I find I am better able to focus on my traps while I train shoulders. My back day is usually focused on my mid-back and lats. On shoulder day, on the other hand, I get to squeeze my traps for added benefit.

To build those big-boy traps, here are some of my favorite exercises.

Seated Dumbbell Shrugs

In my opinion seated dumbbell shrugs are the king of trap exercises.
The range of motion, contraction and stretch that you get with dumbbells is far superior than what you get with a barbell (barbell shrugs limit your range of motion, and hurt your genitals depending on how long your arms are :))
When performing seated dumbbell shrugs, make sure you use straps so that you don’t have to focus on gripping the heavy dumbbells and that you can focus on growing the traps, not your grip strength.
Grab two dumbbells, sit on a bench and start at the bottom, let the weights stretch your traps, and then shrug up and try to hold for second and the top, really contracting the traps.
Now, this very difficult when using heavy dumbbells, specially when you get to the last reps.
The key is to not worry about the form so much on the last reps, but to just shrug as high as you can, and to keep going when it hurts.

Dumbbell Shrugs

 Run the rack. 9 sets using a 20-15-12-10-8-10-12-15-AMRAP rep scheme. To finish off this workout we started with 60 pound dumbbells for 20 reps and pyramided our way up to 100 pound dumbbells before reverse pyramiding back down to 60 pounds for AMRAP for our last set. This is a great traps finisher to incorporate to your trap routine every week or bi-weekly. Don’t worry your traps will be feeling good for days after completing this movement.

Bent-over dumbbell shrugs

There are multiple ways to do dumbbell shrug other than the standing variety. You can do them while seated and bent over at various angles to hit various parts of your traps. Do them while sitting upright and at every angle until you’re bent over, with your back parallel to the floor. Keep your arms straight, and shrug as high as possible to make those traps really work, and try to feel the stress in different parts of your traps — lower, middle and top. You can also do dumbbell shrugs when positioned facedown on an incline bench set at 35 degrees or so.

Rack Pull Shrug

To perform this exercise set the safety pins in the squat rack at knee level. Load the bar with HEAVY weight, 100-120% of your deadlift 1RM. If grip strength is an issue, strap up for this exercise. Try to emulate your deadlift position as closely as you can. Pull the bar up to lockout and then shrug the weight, all in one motion. This will work the traps both isometrically during the rack pull and concentrically during the shrug.

Standing calf machine shrugs

This may sound strange, but believe me, these really build the traps. The secret is heavy weights, low-to-moderate reps and hard work. Place the pads of the standing calf machine over your shoulders. You can stand on the foot platform or just place your feet on the floor. Using trap power only, shrug your shoulders as high as possible, and lower. You can do this exercise with speed and some cheating because no matter how much you cheat, your traps get the brunt of the work. At the top of the range of motion make your traps brace and support the weight. I recommend sets of six to eight reps.