Trapezius Essentials – How To Turn Your Traps Into Mountains Of Muscle.

Training traps is more than just a matter of shrugs at the end of a back session, understanding the best way to train the trapezius muscle will set you at a distinct advantage.

Lou Ferrigno showing the size of his traps

Which category, back or shoulders?

The traps are a group of three muscles; the upper, middle, and lower trapezius muscles. There is always some debate as to whether the traps are back or shoulder muscles, and it seems to be the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The upper traps assist the deltoids in a majority of exercises in comparison to the back, so it’s advisable to train traps and shoulders on the same day. However, many people prefer to trap on back training days, because of their involvement in rear flyes and T-rows.

It’s best to treat the traps similarly to the forearms, as a smaller bodypart, so train traps as you would treat another smaller muscle when it comes to building mass. For example if you train your shoulders for 20 sets, try and go for 10-12 sets for traps. It’s a good idea to always train the shoulders first before isolated trap training, because as the traps assist the shoulders if you trained them first you’d be that much weaker on the shoulders.

How many reps should I train for Traps?

[column size=”one-half”]Trap Muscle Anatomy[/column] [column size=”one-half” last=”true”]

Trap training science:

The traps are not small muscles, they’re small compared to major back muscles in terms of width, but are actually a reasonably sized sheet of muscle. It’s because of this, that so many people disagree on what the ideal rep ranges for hypertrophy are. Some say they should be treated like forearms and trained above the 12 rep mark, others will jump to the opposite side of the spectrum and train traps heavy in sets of 5reps.

In reality, traps need both types of rep ranges. In fact, the reason why traps are often disputed and their defenders so[/column] adamant, is because the traps respond incredibly well to the extreme ends of the rep ranges, but many will rarely, if ever, see gains in the typical 8-10 range. The same is similar with calves because of the high density of these muscle groups. Knowing this though, will allow you to alternate between the two avoiding any plateaus. Alternate between the two on a bi weekly basis.

Trap exercises:

There is a lot more to trap training than just shrugs. You don’t train other muscle groups with just one or two exercises so don’t fall into this trap with your traps! Shrugs are an important part of trap training, however there are many different versions that can give you the extra push to get these muscles well developed. For example dumbbell shrugs can be completed face down on an incline bench, seated or standing and barbell shrugs can be done both in front and behind the body. Other good exercises are lateral and front raises, but be sure to go past parallel so the top of the range of motion is including the traps. Upright rows are also a good exercise; use a grip closer than shoulder width and it will again put extra emphasis on the traps.

The trap workout:

Traps Workout Routine



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