The well-built trapezius, also known as traps and shrugs, is a sign of great physique as well as a sign of your hard work and effort. It adds extra power and masculinity to your personality and gives the body that enviable Superhero-like shape. Building bigger and stronger traps is not an easy job. It demands discipline, dedication and lots of hard work. After all, these are one of the largest and most prominent back muscles that support the most powerful of movements. Most importantly, these muscles play a significant role in achieving that oh-so-hot V-taper look.
This article will shed light on how to make traps stronger with some of the best trap exercises.
What are the Trap Muscles?
Traps is a short term for trapezius muscles. They are one of the widest back muscles that lie next to latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and levator scapula. The muscle’s shape is similar to a quadrilateral “trapezoid,” from which it gets its name. This muscle is one of the major contributors to the broad back and wide shoulders. It can be located just beneath the skin and it is linked to the dorsal vertebrae, spine, and scapula. in simple words, this muscle is triangular in its structure and is quite thin. It is spread throughout the upper back of the body, covering the shoulders and neck with attachment points from C7 to T12 of the spine.
Trapezius is a pair of muscles which has three functional parts: the superior region, also known as descending part, the intermediate region, also known as the transverse part, and the inferior region, also known as the ascending part. Each one of them has different functions to perform and it is essential to complete movements. The descending part supports the weight of the arms, the intermediate part adducts the scapula and the ascending part assists in upward rotation of the scapula. The trapezius is one of the broadest and the largest muscles in the back, and is important for some basic functions related to maintaining the posture and keeping the spinal column erect when the person is standing. Therefore, it is important to train these muscles and make them stronger. Weak traps are the primary reason for shoulder and scapula related injuries. Including a few lower trap exercises in your daily fitness routine will help you achieve stronger back muscles for effective active movements.
Functions of Trap Muscles
Let’s go through the functions of trapezius muscles in detail in order to understand why trap exercises are a must.
Trap muscles essentially cater to the postural attributes of the upper body and active movements. For example, many movements of the scapula, tilting and turning the head, shrugging and steadying shoulders, twisting arms, rotating the neck, bringing the head back to the side and turning it. With lower traps, the upper traps work to rotate the shoulder blade upward, bringing the shoulder blade back toward the spine and bringing the shoulder girdle down.
In addition, traps are also known as breathing muscles as they assist in breathing function of the lungs by slightly opening the upper chest region. It helps in enhancing the breathing ability of the lungs. However, it is simply an accessory breathing muscle, the main role in breathing function is played by the diaphragm.
Best Trap Exercises to Make these Muscles Stronger and Bigger
Next up, this article talks about a few trap exercises for mass and exercises to build traps stronger. As we just learned, traps are a lot more about than just good physique and V-taper look. Well-developed traps can help you in daily functions, improve your posture, and make you a better player at your favorite sport. Also, traps play a significant role in preventing any kind of injury to the shoulder and neck. Strong trap muscles can absorb shocking movements to the neck and shoulders that can potentially cause permanent damage to the neck and head.
Performing a set of different trap exercises regularly is the key to developing bigger and stronger trapezius. Good trap exercises will challenge the muscles in the neck and upper back. Performing trap exercises twice a week can improve the health of trap muscles significantly.
Consider a list of trap muscles exercises, below.
Deadlifts: It’s the single best trap exercise that shows results quickly. Experts and fitness gurus vouch for this workout routine and insist on including it in good weightlifting programs. Deadlifts are the best way to make your back remarkably stronger and the best part of your physique. However, it is important to understand that deadlifts are a challenging workout andcan cause serious injuries in lower back if not performed correctly. Therefore, seeking professional assistance during the practice is highly recommended for this particular trap exercise.
Technique: Begin with standing with your feet resting beneath the barbell bar. Keep your feet at shoulder-width apart. Squat down and take hold of the bar with a strong grip. Make sure the barbell is not overloaded for you to handle the weight. This can cause serious injury. As you bend down to pick up the bar, make sure your chest is up and you are looking straight ahead. Now lift the barbell bar from the ground. Keep the bar close to the body and raise it to your pelvic area as your elbows remain fully extended. Hold this position for a second or two, and then put the bar down to the ground and repeat.
Dumbbell Shrugs: Shrugs with dumbbell or barbell are equally effective, but if you are still a beginner it’s best to start with dumbbells. In order to improve your posture, reduce a slump back, and build stronger traps, dumbbell shrugs are a must. This may sound like a simple exercise, but it challenges the superior region of the trapezius with incredible effectiveness.
Technique: Stand straight with dumbbells in each hand on the sides. Lift your shoulders as high as possible, along with the weight of the dumbbells and hold this position for a few seconds. Lower the dumbbells and come back to the starting position and repeat. There are a whole lot of variations to experiment this routine with. You can make use of bands, barbells, and cables.
Romanian Deadlift: This is one of the few good traps exercises that must not be neglected if developing your back muscles is the priority. This work out is challenging yet simple to learn. It is a definitive way of firing up the back muscles instantly. In addition to the trapezius, this exercise trains lats, glutes, and hamstrings.
Technique: This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or barbells. For the starting position, grab a barbell bar and keep it close to your pelvis area. Your spine and back must be straight as you begin this exercise. Now, begin to bend forward. Your arms and spine must be fully extended; push your hips to the back, and lower the barbell down. At the maximum range, you must feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Remember, you do not have to keep the barbell down. The movement, upward and downward, must be repeated for at least 10 times, before coming back to the starting position.
Farmer’s walk: It is a simple yet extremely effective trap exercise. It is a great strengthening as well as cardio exercise that helps you burn a massive number of calories. This workout is sometimes also known as farmer’s carry. It can be practiced with various types of equipment such as dumbbells or short bars.
Technique: Keep weights on each side and stand between them. Bend forward and lift them off the ground. Your head must be forward and back straight. Now, begin walking, taking short and quick steps. Keep breathing as you walk for at least 50 feet, as swiftly as possible.
Rowing: There is a range of rowing exercises. Different variations involve different implementations. It can be performed with dumbbells, barbells or cable pull. It is one of the best lower trap exercises that also targets middle traps, lats, rhomboids, posterior deltoids and other muscles that are located in and around shoulder blades and joints.
Technique: Since there are several variations to ace when it comes to rowing, let’s go through the fundamental rowing exercise with a barbell. Take hold of the barbell in a firm grip and make sure that the arms are slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keep your arms fully extended, push your hips back and lower your knees down. The spine should be straight as you bend forward and pull the bar up and down.
Face Pull: Using the cable equipment, this strength exercise trains shoulders, upper traps, and arms. This exercise may look simple and less challenging; however, it is extremely effective and must be a part of a regular routine. This workout is the key to a bulletproof back and shoulders. If it’s your first time on the cable machine, it is advised to perform this workout under the supervision of a professional.
Technique: Start by standing facing the pulley. Take hold of the handle with both your hands. Your elbows must be straight; begin by pulling it towards your face. Make sure your arms are not touching each other. Hold this position for 2 seconds and go back to the starting position.
Incredible Bodyweight Trap Exercises
Besides free weights and machine workouts, bodyweight exercises are a great way to challenge your trapezius muscles and build a stronger back. These exercises are essential to strengthen muscles and improve endurance. Therefore, there is no way you can skip this part of the fitness routine. The best part is that you don’t need any equipment for this workout, and it can be practiced anywhere.
Planks: There is nothing better than this isometric core strengthening exercise. This posture trains several body muscles and is considered one of the most powerful and effective bodyweight exercises.
Technique: The perfect plank is a full body move. You must be able to create tension in the entire body. Place hands directly under the shoulder as you lie down on your chest. Ground the toes in the floor and squeeze your glutes and core. Lift your upper body upward until your arms are fully extended. The spine and the neck must be in alignment and hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
Pushups: Classic push-ups is a great way to develop traps. If done properly, this single exercise can do wonders to the body. It is more like a total body workout that works on several major muscle groups in the body. For it to impact your traps, it is important that the shoulder blades move around the rib cage when performing this strengthening exercise.
Technique: Start on your chest as you face the floor. Place palms firmly on the ground and legs fully extended at the back as you go in a plank position. Now, squeeze your abs and core, and inhale. Begin to lower your body down until the shoulders are in a 90-degree angle like you are taking a dive. Finally, exhale as you push your body back in plank position.
Hand walk: Simple yet very effective, this exercise is wonderful to train shoulders and the upper back. This is one of the best traps exercise inspired by animals’ walk. All you have to do is walk like your favorite animal on all four limbs.
Technique: Crawl on your hands and feet as fast as possible. Make sure your hip is high in the air and knees do not touch the ground.
Bent-over Y: This exercise is a must if you want bigger and stronger shoulders and back. You can perform this exercise with or without weights. If you want it intense, then you can use light-weight dumbbells.
Technique: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with dumbbells in each hand. Bend your upper body forward as your hips remain hinged. Extend your arms in front of you in the shape of the letter Y. Now, hold the position for a while before returning to the starting position.
There are no shortcuts to building a great physique. It requires hard work and discipline. Hence, incorporate these fundamental yet effective trap exercises and get closer to achieving your dreams.
Disclaimer: All exercises must be performed under the supervision of certified professionals. If any medical condition exists, consult a medical professional to proceed with these exercises.