One muscle group that can often be overlooked in a training plan is your traps. Traps can make or break a physique if you’re a bodybuilder. Having a strong chest can look incomplete if you don’t see added muscularity finishing off your frame. Traps help give you the broad look that compliments defined shoulders, completing a well-rounded upper body.
But, if your trap workout consists of a few sets of shrugs haphazardly thrown into the end of your back or shoulder day, you have work to do. There are some exercises and techniques you can include to activate your traps, ensuring that you jumpstart this muscle group into growth.
Let’s look at a few of these unconventional ways to ensure your traps are growing as quickly as possible.
While shrugs are, and will always be at the heart of any trap building workout routine, you need to understand that there are many other exercises that fit the bill as well.
Some great alternatives include the face pull, the single arm upright row, as well as the barbell upright row. All of these moves will effectively target the traps, ensuring that you hit the muscle group from all angles with different types of stimuli.
In much the same way that you use various exercises to work your lats or hamstrings, you need to do the same thing with your traps. It’s important to include variety in your trap training otherwise they’ll get complacent, and that’s where your results will come to a halt.
Next, be sure that you don’t underestimate the importance of time under tension. To really get your traps growing, you need two things: heavier weight and more volume. Ideally, both should be included every week that you train.
You’ll want to hit the traps hard with as much weight as possible, keeping reps around 6-8 with some sets. Then alternate this on other sets, take it up higher, such as a set of 50 to get the muscle burning and fatigued.
Traps respond well to high volume so don’t be afraid to hit them hard and often. In addition to this, the good news is that sore traps won’t interfere too much with the other lifts you are doing (if you are performing those exercises properly), so this shouldn’t be an issue either.
Finally, static holds can also be a good approach to utilize. A farmers walk, where you’re carrying heavy weight in both hands and walking across the room, is a good example of this. It’s a great way to build your traps along with improving your grip strength through holding the muscle under tension.
Test out a few new methods of training to figure out what your body responds best to. Remember to change your training over time so you don’t get stuck in a progress plateau.
The final thing you need to do is train your traps more frequently. Don’t relegate them to shoulder day only. While you certainly should hit them on shoulder day, it’s important that you also do them a few other days during the week, hitting them at least twice, if not three times overall.
You can include shrugs at the end of a leg day when the upper body is still relatively fresh allowing you to hit this muscle group hard.
Keep these points in mind and don’t overlook your trap training any longer. In some people, these muscles can be stubborn to build, but with the right techniques, you should be able to get them to grow.