9 Traps Exercises for a Bigger and Stronger Back

9 Traps Exercises for a Bigger and Stronger Back

For a lot of guys who spend time in the gym, they spend most of their efforts on developing the muscles that they can see in the mirror – abs, quads, chest and arms. This explains the huge popularity of bicep curls and ab crunches. But oftentimes, we forget about our traps (trapezoid muscles) which comprise a big portion of our back.

The traps are made of 3 parts – superior trapezius, inferior trapezius and mid-trapezius. This quadrilateral-shaped muscle should be given enough focus as well if you want to look more muscular and bigger.

If you want to grow your traps, here are exercises that can really help:

1. Farmer’s Carry

You can perform this exercise walking around your gym (or even in a room) carrying weight. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand and position them at your sides. Activate your back and core and stand upright. Take measured and even steps for a set amount of time and distance.

2. Face Pull

You can use a resistance band or cable machine for this exercise. Set the resistance band or cable machine at eye-level. Grab the ends of the band in each hand or the cable rope handles. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, resist the urge to lean forward as you pull towards your face with elbows high. Hold for a moment as you squeeze when pulling back and then return to starting position.

3. Dumbbell Military Press

This exercise has long been considered one of the best exercises to build up your shoulders. But it’s also a really good workout for your traps.  Grab some dumbbells (one in each hand) and raise them to your shoulders. Engage your glutes and core. Make sure that you’re not lifting when you press, but instead rotate your elbows slightly outward, squeeze your shoulder blades and then press the dumbbells up.

4. Bent Over Y

You’ll need lightweight dumbbells for this exercise. Stand with both feet hip-width apart, and each hand holding a light dumbbell. Hinging at the hip, bend slowly and raise your arms out front to form a Y-shape. Hold this position before you return to the original position.

5. Pullup Shrug

Hang from a pullup bar, with your core engaged and your spine straight. Pull your shoulders back and extend your neck and head upward. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower yourself to the original position.

6. Rack Pull

Set up a rack so the barbell is above your shins. With an overhand grip, grab the bar at shoulder-width. Hinge at the waist pull the bar up making sure your back stays straight. Pause for a few seconds, then slowly put the weight back down.

7. Incline Dumbbell Shrug

Get a hold of dumbbells, holding one in each hand and lie chest-down on a bench set at 45-degree incline. With left and right palms facing each other, let your arms hang down straight. Shrug your shoulders upward as you pull the shoulder blades together.

8. Barbell Row

With an overhand grip, grab the barbell a little over shoulder width, and position it at arm’s length. Hinge from your hips and bend your knees as you lower your torso parallel to the floor. Pull the bar towards your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Count a few seconds before you return to your original position.

9. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Grab two dumbbells, one in each hand, and let them hang at arm’s length on both sides. Stand upright with both feet hip-width apart. Then let your palms face forward as you slightly bend your elbows. Raise your arms to your sides until they’re at shoulder level. As your arms become parallel to the floor, turn your thumbs upward slightly and keep your arms to form a T shape with your body. Pause for a second and slowly return to original position.

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