Building Bigger Traps

When you are just starting to develop a workout routine most beginners, or trainees, want to find a direct isolation movement that will increase their traps. Shrugs are the main go-to lift that are most recommended for increasing mass and strength in the traps. Yes, there are several other movements that can be used to improve this area, such as face pulls, rows, and the basic dead-lift, but shrugs, especially a variation of dumbbell shrugs are the guaranteed way of building bigger traps. Focusing on the stimulation of these muscles will guarantee growth and mass.

Standard shrugs are performed by using weights (barbells, dumbbells) and an up and down movement..basically a shrugging motion. This is known as the scapular elevation and while this exercise does work in developing a more muscular upper back, these muscles also perform another function if you are wanting to build even bigger traps. Scapular retraction is the second function that is even more important in amassing more muscle mass in the upper back.

Simply moving your shoulders in an upward motion toward your ears as in a scapular elevation movement, the scapular retraction is a movement that retracts, or pulls back the shoulder blades towards the spine. It is more like a horizontal shrug, as opposed to a vertical shrug. You will notice increased growth in your traps that you would not normally realize if you are only utilizing a scapular elevation alone. Incorporating this movement into your normal workout you are essentially building bigger traps than you might realize.

  • Grab your dumbbells and hold them at your sides.
  • Lean slightly forward as opposed to standing perfectly vertical.
  • Shrug horizontally instead of lifting straight up and down. With a horizontal angle your shoulders will be lifted up and back simultaneously.
  • Keep your reps smooth. Be deliberate in your movements and squeeze your traps together each rep.
  • You may find that this movement definitely requires a bit of practice before you can do it easily, and you may find yourself looking for just thatright angle that you are comfortable with but with enough focus you will get there.

Not sure about this movement? Try it while you are standing there without using any weight. You are going to feel it in your traps immediately, even without the use of dumbbells. Imagine how it will work once you add weights to the workout. Keep in mind that you should use lighter weights than you normally use when doing shrugging exercises. Half should be quite effective for most people. You want to build bigger traps, not injure yourself.

You may want to use lifting hooks or lifting straps which can be very helpful when doing this movement. You don’t want to be focusing on your forearms or grip when you should be concentrating solely on contracting your traps and isolating these muscles. Using these tips and simple instructions for building bigger traps, adding the movements to your regular workout, and learning how to do them correctly will result in your upper back being wider, thicker and more muscular.