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The Ultimate Trap Workout To Build Bigger Traps


The trapezius muscles are the ones that go from the back of your neck and stretch down to your mid-back. A trap workout helps add mass and further shapes your back. Also, it helps correct posture and builds a strong frame.

This trap workout consists of 5 key movements that target this 3-part muscle. Meaning, you need to add another upper body workout to your already exhaustive regime. Like we say, good things come to those who sweat.

Check out these workout guides:
– 8 Effective Home Workout Routines
A List Of Best Chest Exercises
– A Guide To Returning To The Gym After Covid-19

How To Do Trap Workout Exercises

Dumbbell Shrugs:

Source: Gymshark

This movement is a staple trap exercise. Shrugs target the upper and mid trap muscles. They are also good for mass and strength building. There are so many types of shrugs, you can do it with barbells, dumbbells, and even pull-ups.

How to do dumbbell shrugs:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang down by your sides
  • Now, enter the shrug, or just put effort only on your shoulders to raise the dumbbells
  • Shrug your shoulders as high as you can. If done naturally, it should only be a few inches up from the resting position.
  • Pause for a moment and then return to the resting position

Pull-up Shrugs:

An easier variation of the shrug but still not easy. It combines a pull-up and a shrug. However, its not a complete pull-up. The position is the same but the emphasis and movement is for your traps.

This exercise really helps build endurance and strength. Goal is to crank out at least 20 reps per set and you’ll be doing this movement towards the end of the trap workout.

How to do pull-up shrugs:

  • Start by hanging from the pull-up bar. Keep your body straight and legs above the ground
  • You aren’t pulling yourself up at all. The only thing moving up is your head and neck while the rest of the body stays in place
  • Lift your shoulders up slightly, only your shoulders should move back and forth while your head and neck move up and down
  • During this movement, tighten your core and hold the position for a moment
  • Let yourself back down into the resting position and start again

Face Pulls:

Source: The Trend Spotter

This is a far more intense movement than the upper two. While shrugs are a staple trap exercise, the face pull is what will make your muscles burn. It targets your upper back along with your traps.

You need a cable machine for this movement. The ropes have to be long enough for you to be able to fully extend your arms. Also, the ropes have to be attached to a point that is slightly above your head, hence the name “face pull”.

How to do face pulls:

  • Set the point to just above your eyes.
  • Using an overhand grip, grab the ropes in each hand.
  • Now, squeeze your shoulders as you bring the rope back towards your face
  • Make sure your elbows are kept high and back is kept straight throughout the movement
  • Finally, bring the ropes as close to your face as your can and pause for a moment
  • Let your shoulder blades relax and return to resting position

Rack Pulls:

Source: The Trend Spotter

Rack pulls are a great trap and back exercise. They work on your upper traps which helps build strength and promotes healthy posture. Now, the range of this movement is limited just like in shrugs. There isn’t much you are doing.

Therefore, you can increase the weight to challenge yourself more. Remember, when you pull at knee height you are maximizing the burn on your traps.

How to do rack pulls:

  • Stand in front of a rack
  • Make sure the barbell is just above your shins
  • Bend at the waist and grab the barbell
  • Now, pull the barbell upward while you push your hips backwards
  • Your back should be straight throughout the entire movement
  • Pause for a second before returning to rest position

Dumbbell Upright Row:

This movement works on your traps, anterior and rear deltoids. They help add mass and strength to your traps. Now, you can do it with either dumbbell or barbell. This trap workout has the dumbbell variation.

You will be doing it per hand, so after completing reps for one arm, switch to the other for a complete set.

How to do dumbbell upright row:

  • Using an overhand grip, grab the dumbbell in your hand
  • Keep your hand in front of your body
  • Now, raise your elbow up and bring the dumbbell up towards your chin
  • Hold for a moment before returning to rest position

The Ultimate Trap Workout:


Now you know the 5 exercises and the proper form. Next, its time to turn this into an intense workout routine. However, you can incorporate a few of these exercises in to your back workout or have a dedicated trap workout.

These movements are optimal for increasing the size and strength of your trap muscles. The primary focus of each movement is on your traps but also works on other back muscles for support. That’s why you can easily incorporate these movements into your back workout.

Before starting this trap workout, know the weight limit that is suitable for you. Lifting too heavy at the start will tire you out before you finish the routine. Whereas, lifting too little just won’t strain your muscles enough. You can also add weights after completing each set for a more challenging workout.

Also, all pros start with a warm-up. It’s a golden rule.

The ultimate trap workout starts off with strength-based movements and gradually moves to hypertrophy and endurance building. By the time you get to shrugs, your weight should be a bit heavier as shrugs are comparatively easier to do than the rest of the movements.

Rest period between each set should be between 30 to 45 seconds.

  • Rack Pulls at 3 sets with 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Upright Row at 3 sets with 10 reps
  • Face pulls at 3 sets with 10 reps
  • Pullup Shrugs at 3 sets with 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs at 3 sets with 15 to 20 reps

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