These trap exercises will get you noticed. One muscle group that really separates males from females is the traps.
You rarely see women with larger trap muscles but in men, it’s one of the muscles that when developed nicely, makes them look extremely masculine. As such, trap exercises a priority for many guys who hit the gym.
One nice thing about the traps is that because the range of motion is quite short, they aren’t as demanding as something like training legs or shoulders would be, so they can easily be trained twice a week without any trouble.
If you want to get your own traps growing, the following ten best trap exercises should be a must-do on your list. By adding these to your workout program frequently and ensuring you hit your traps hard and heavy, you’ll begin seeing the development you’re looking for.
Seated Dumbbell Shrugs
Kicking things off you have the seated dumbbell shrugs exercise. For this exercise you’re simply going to sit down on a bench, holding a set of dumbbells down by your sides and then shrug up the weight by contracting the traps.
When doing this trap exercise, aim to perform 30 seconds time under tension rather than counting reps and squeeze your traps hard at the top of each exercise.
Plate Shrug Lift ?
The plate shrug lift is one that will work not only the traps but also the front delts so is great to do on a shoulder training day as well. You?ll stand holding a plate with both hands and then shrug the weight up upon which, you?ll move directly into a front raise, raising the plate over the head.
You?ll want to squeeze the traps during both the actual shrug itself, as well as when you are at the top and lifting the weight overhead. This will ensure maximum muscle stimulation is felt during the movement.
Standing Plate Shrugs
The standing plate shrug is a nice addition to your workout program and can be alternated with the seated dumbbell shrug when you feel like it. Simply get into a standing position, holding a plate at either side of the body and then once balanced, shrug the weights up.
Some guys may find that this trap exercise is the best to use after you perform a heavy set of shrugs by dropping the weight, grabbing your plate and then performing the shrug from there.
If doing it as a superset in this fashion to optimize metabolic stress, go lighter on the plate shrugs so you can get in sufficient reps to bring on that stress to the muscle tissues.
looking to build your dream physique?
Take the 60-second SuperHuman Quiz to learn what the perfect plan of attack is to get your dream body in 12 weeks!
Rope Face Pull Traps Edition
The rope pull is a move that’s classically done for the rear delts, however with one simple alteration, you can really get your traps being called into play. When performing this exercise, you want to do your normal face pull but when the arms are in their maximally contracted state, press up and extend the elbows above the head. As you do this, you?ll feel your traps burning as they take over maintaining the tension in the cable through to the full extension.
Bend the elbows again to lower and then finish up the face pull movement pattern. You may need to decrease the weight when doing this compared to when you were doing just the regular face pull.
Dumbbell shrugs are the classic go-to for any trap building workout routine so no article outlining the 10 best trap exercises would be complete without a mention of this.
Dumbbell shrugs are excellent for firing up the traps and allowing you to lift heavy, allowing you to gain size and density in your traps. It’s also another exercise that works great as a superset, so you?d do one set, drop the weight by 20% and then do another of 8-10 reps.
Do keep in mind some guys may want to use straps on this exercise if your traps are already very strong and you find your grip fails before your traps do. You should aim to avoid straps though until you really need them so as to focus on building grip strength at the same time.
Smith Machine Shrug
You may not be a fan of squatting in the smith machine, but it’s a great option for working your traps. Smith machine shrugs are easy to perform and will attack this muscle from a slightly different angle. Because the bar is fully supported as well, you can add additional weight without worry.
You?ll want to hold the bar behind your body and squeeze your traps as you move through the movement pattern, trying to maintain peak mind-muscle connection.
Lift the weight straight up and then hold it for one second at the top of each rep.
Dumbbell Incline Trap Raise
The dumbbell incline trap raise is another move that will hit your traps from a different angle, which is vital for ensuring that you aren’t going to be hitting progress plateau’s at any point during the exercise while also keeping the strength gains coming.
Do this one by lying on an incline bench face down and holding a pair of dumbbells beneath you. In this position, you?ll then squeeze the trap muscles in order to lift the dumbbells directly up in a straight line. Make sure that you squeeze extra hard at the top of the move where you are in the peak contraction and then slowly lower down to complete the rep.
Dumbbell Farmers Walk
The dumbbell farmers walk is not only an exercise that will help you build amazing traps, but also one that’s great for working you on a cardio standpoint while working your grip strength as well.
When doing this one, you?ll want to hold onto your dumbbells and then get into an upright standing position. From here, squeeze the traps, bring the shoulders up and then begin to walk the length of the gym or wherever you’re working out. Maintain the tension in the traps, fully squeezed, the entire time.
Try and do this trap exercise for 30 seconds total, keeping that tension the entire time.
Iso Cable Shrugs
The iso cable shrug is a perfect move for activating your lats in an isolated manner, one from the other to ensure no muscular imbalances are present. Stand leaning away from the cable stack machine, holding the handle and then squeezing the lat to raise the weight upwards.
You want to maintain a nice fluid motion whenever doing this exercise while focusing on the mind-muscle connection. Note that this exercise is not about lifting gas heavy of a weight as possible, which will surely cause you to lose the tension in the muscle tissues.
Lat Raise Trap Edition
Finally, the lat raise trap edition is a great move for finishing off your trap exercises and also should be performed with lighter weight so you can instead focus on achieving the ultimate mind-muscle connection.
What you’re going to do here is move into a lat raise, bring the weight up to the peak contraction point you?d normally do where the arms are straight out to the sides and then elevate the weight further, moving up towards the ceiling. Note you’re only raising about a foot higher than parallel in this position however this will be enough to really get those trap muscles burning and feeling this movement.
Slow and controlled should once again be your goal as you feel the tension building.
Did you enjoy these trap exercises? Visit our comprehensive exercises database for even more types of exercises.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
Now I’m on a mission to transform as many lives as possible and I’m so excited you found us!
I’ve been fortunate enough to train alongside and pick the brain of some of the best pro athletes, bodybuilders and trainers in the world – and this site represents over 15+ years of insights from the world’s best.
Want more gains? Here are a few suggested actions:
Head over to the world’s largest exercise database for a wide variety of unique exercises for every muscle group
Visit our Youtube Channel where you can watch Balloon Method™ workouts for Every Muscle Group.
Check out Alpha Lion so you can learn more about 1 of the fastest growing fitness lifestyle companies in the world and stack up on the best science-backed supplements.