Work Those Traps

There’s nothing more impressive than big, muscular traps. For bodybuilders, huge traps tell the world you’re serious about your gains. If you compete, fully developed traps are the only way to an impressive most-muscular! Not to mention, great traps give you a look of power. In this article, 5% Nutrition shows you how to Work Those Traps!

It All Begins With Understanding Trap Anatomy

To properly train a muscle, you should understand what it does.(1)

The traps, or trapezius, consist of three sections. They are:

  • Upper – The upper traps originate on the back of your skull. It connects along the spine and ligaments of the vertebrae of your neck and inserts on the outer part of your clavicle. The upper traps shrug your shoulders upwards, extend your neck backward, and rotate your shoulders upward. This is the muscle that bulges around your neck when you do a "most muscular" pose. It literally makes or breaks the pose.
  • Middle – The middle and lower traps originate along your mid spine and insert along the outer to the inner part of your shoulder blades. The middle traps squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower – The lower traps bring your shoulder blades downwards.

When Should I Train Traps?

The first question is, when should you work your traps? Before diving into that, it needs to be understood that separate trap training really refers to the upper traps. Functionally speaking, traps are part of the back. When you train back, you’re working the lower and middle traps as part of your workout. In comparison, when you work shrugs, you’re mainly working the upper traps. 

That said, some lifters work traps on Push Day, others on Pull Day. It comes down to how much work you have to do on Push Day. If you’re doing a lot of sets for chest, delts, and tris, it makes sense to balance out your workload by working traps with your back and biceps. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. 

Try This Trap Routine!

Once you’ve decided when you want to work those traps, try this routine. 

Haney Shrugs
Or, behind the back shrugs. You can go heavy on these, and your range of motion isn’t more than a couple of inches.
2 sets x 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Shrugs
You can use a much greater range of motion on these. Pull up with your traps, hold, and squeeze at the top.
2 sets x 8-10 reps
EZ-Bar Overhead Press
Use this exercise if you work traps on Push Day. While this unusual exercise will hit the delts and triceps, the unique angle the EZ bar puts your hands into directly hits the traps.
2 sets x 8-10 reps
Farmer’s Walk
Use this exercise if you work traps on Pull Day. For this tremendous exercise, grab 2 heavy dumbbells and walk for 60 seconds. This exercise works most of the body, including traps.
2 sets x 60 seconds

Performance Notes

Concentrate on proper exercise form. These exercises are pretty simple. The most important thing is that, with shrugs, you pull with your traps. The EZ Press will force your hands into an angled position that hits the traps hard. If you’re doing Farmer’s Walks, keep your posture straight and tight. You’ll feel these pretty quick. If you don’t, add weight.

Lift the weight under control, from start to finish. Don’t let momentum do any of the work and emphasize the negative part of the rep. Take 2-3 seconds to lift the weight. Hold at the top and squeeze for 2-3 seconds, then take 4-6 seconds to return to the start position. If size and strength are your goal, train to failure. 

Rest 60 seconds between sets. 

When you can do the listed reps easily, add 10% more weight. Try to add weight every other workout. Add weight to as many exercises as you can. If you can’t add more weight, add 1-2 more reps.  

5% Nutrition Supplement Suggestions

Of course, if you’re looking to build your traps, you’re on a mass program. There are several cornerstone 5% supplements you should be using: pre-workout, protein powder, BCAA powder, creatine, and natural muscle builders. The best way to get the products you need is by visiting our Stacks page. You’ve got several options. First, you can choose a pre-built stack, such as our Hardcore Pre-Workout Stack. ORRR, you can Build Your Own Stack. Pick 3 supplements and save 15%, pick 4 supplements and save 18%, or pick 5 supplements and save 20%! Or, choose any 4 Core Supplements and save 20%. What could be better than that?

Finally, make sure you’re eating a surplus of calories (250-500 per day more than maintenance) with an emphasis on quality lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. And Work Those Traps!


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