But before we get into specific activation exercises, let’s first understand the role and anatomy of the trapezius muscle. Just kidding. Who cares?
1. Snatch-Grip Hang High Pulls
- Go for 4-6 heavy reps
- Focus on full Range of Motion
- Best movement for traps, no discussion
- Do this if you want to look powerful and aesthetic
I like to perform them this way:
You can also check Panda Pulls
2. Hang Cleans
- Go heavy, 3-4 reps.
- Don’t curl the bar.
3. Power Shrugs
- 5-6 heavy reps
4. Upright Rows
- Controlled, strict reps. Don’t use momentum.
- Don’t swing or front-raise the bar; row.
- Take the bar to nipple level then lower it and repeat.
- Perform 8-12 Reps
5. Db Upright Rows
- Don’t curl
- Focus on feeling the traps
- 12 reps
6. Armpit Db Rows
- Do 8-10 heavy reps
- You can use a little bit of momentum if you want.
- Be prepared to look like a retard and a range of motion of 1.5 inches.
|I like regular shrugs because they give you a good pump.|
7. Db Shrugs
- They give you a nice neck / trap stretch which is good and allow freedom of movement while giving you a good juicy pump.
- Go for 10-20 reps.
8. Bb Shrugs
- Good to target the upper mirror traps.
- Do 10-12 reps.
9. Behind-The-Back Smith Machine Shrugs
- Use a mixed grip if you feel more comfortable.
- Finally you can make the smith machine feel useful.
- Go for 12-20 reps.
10. Farmer Carries / Walks
- Finisher! Grab the heaviest dumbbells in your gym and go for a walk.
Big Plus: All these exercises will make your grip stronger.
- Facepulls, good prehab/rehab/conditioning/mass exercise that will also help fixing your posture.
- Db Shrugs lying on an incline bench are also similarly good.
- Freeweight Shoulder Presses & Raises.
I’mma let you shrug but I think these are the best trap exercises of all time.
Of course, Deadlifts build great traps but I’m sure you’re already doing them, regardless of your trap development.
*Pro Tip: If you’re training for aesthetics, don’t even bother working your neck directly. There is a difference between having big traps and looking like you have no neck.