T Nation

An Idea to Improve Traps

Shrugs shouldn’t be done like most like to. 2-5 s hold for high reps 12-20 that’s how shrugs need to be done to be conducive to growth. Not the half rep shirt hump thing ppl do

Not says Jamie Lewis (of Chaos and Pain)

Behind the neck push presses are also another great way to hit the traps. Another gem from Mr. Lewis

Training the (upper) traps is weird. I can barbell shrug above 700lbs with decent form for reps (similar form as the guy in the vid), but actually realized that I can work them even harder (my perception at least) with only 225lbs if I perform them a certain way. While improving the target muscle activation by the way you execute exercise is hardly surprising, the load difference with shrugs is insane.

[quote]Captain Wheels wrote:
Yeah my routine is shit, and I am going to fix it, just not right now because I really want to stick with my current random plan for a few more weeks.[/quote]
Basically. I’m not really sure why though.

No offense, but… lol, okay. Any chance you can get a little more specific on this? Like, do you want to overhead press 495 or weigh 250 with a 4-pack before you turn 18? Lofty goals are one thing, and I’m totally not trying to discourage you, but as that article mentioned, one basic principle of goal-setting is that they do need to be achievable and realistic. There’s a difference between having high expectations and having a pipe dream.

Definitely a good call. As a rule of thumb, try to always have at least one good rep in the tank, so you’re never really pushing to absolute muscular failure, especially on the bigger lifts. That’ll also help to ensure more solid form start to finish.

I do kinda understand what you’re saying, but you need to realize that lifting is a long-term game. Without exaggeration, you can be lifting for the next 50 years, so there’s no rush to do everything ASAP now-now-now. Quick example, BlueCollarTr8n is one of the most experienced and, no surprise, one of the best built guys on the site. He’s been lifting for almost 30 years and is still kicking serious ass:

The only thing you really do need to do now is develop a foundation of strength, muscle, and technique that you can build upon in the years to come. Like I said, you’re in a perfect spot to see great gains, but that still needs to come from a decent plan. “Good for 52 weeks” ends up much better than “great for 16 weeks and then I burned out”.

It sounds like you have a ton of motivation, which is awesome to see, but if you can channel that into an organized program instead of getting caught up in chasing “insane and unreasonable goals”, you’ll be that much better for it.

Didn’t you mention a genetic predisposition to diabetes? If you have to eat plenty, make sure you’re still eating smart. I’m not saying to stick with chicken, rice, and broccoli, but a “see food” diet isn’t always the best way to go.

Check the nutrition advice I laid out here:

I fixed my routine Chris.
Not doing everything everyday now.
My goals were lofty but I fixed them.
I am gonna stay away from doing one rep maxes.
I realized, even before you posted that, I am in this for the long run, so that is why I changed my mind about things.
I never really eat much sugar, and it turns out the diabetes thing was extremely minor and it was just my mom overreacting as she typically does.
And I am currently checking out the links you posted.
For traps, I will just do power shrugs.

Thanks for your attention to this matter Chris, I really appreciate it.

[quote]Captain Wheels wrote:
I fixed my routine Chris.
Not doing everything everyday now.
My goals were lofty but I fixed them.
I am gonna stay away from doing one rep maxes.
I realized, even before you posted that, I am in this for the long run, so that is why I changed my mind about things.
I never really eat much sugar, and it turns out the diabetes thing was extremely minor and it was just my mom overreacting as she typically does.
And I am currently checking out the links you posted.
For traps, I will just do power shrugs.

Thanks for your attention to this matter Chris, I really appreciate it.[/quote]

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever.

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever. [/quote]

I totally agree. Same story as mine.

[quote]kalb wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever. [/quote]

I totally agree. Same story as mine.

[/quote]

Yup.

Imo shrugs are garbage (for most people).

[quote]Captain Wheels wrote:
Thanks for your attention to this matter Chris, I really appreciate it.[/quote]
Cool beans, man. Glad to hear you’re taking a better approach. Lots of guys, especially younger guys, tend to get their back up, but being able to soak in advice and give it legit consideration is a great tool.

It looks like your new plan could still use a few tweaks (mostly to limit exercise redundancy. You don’t need good mornings and hypers, or flat and incline and decline bench, all in the same session), but it’s still tons better than before.

FWIW, I do kinda agree that barbell shrugs (and upper traps in general) are, in the grand scheme of things, kind of a small player, sorta like wrist curls/forearms. They simply don’t warrant a bunch of direct attention.

Sticking with the major stuff like deads, cleans, presses, rows, pulldowns, and even face pulls (which could technically be a “row variation”) are definitely great bang-for-the-buck movements. Barbell shrugs, dumbbell shrugs (which I prefer), jump shrugs, or whatever variation are just icing.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]kalb wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever. [/quote]

I totally agree. Same story as mine.

[/quote]

Yup.

Imo shrugs are garbage (for most people). [/quote]

Heavy shrugs make my traps explode. But I also do a lot of fairly heavy deadlifting too.

[quote]Bauber wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]kalb wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever. [/quote]

I totally agree. Same story as mine.

[/quote]

Yup.

Imo shrugs are garbage (for most people). [/quote]

Heavy shrugs make my traps explode. But I also do a lot of fairly heavy deadlifting too.

[/quote]

Ya, lol, I think a guy at your level can benefit from them, but most will not. Again, just my opinion.

I have tried power shrugs a couple times (the in a rack, low pull clean grip, let them crash to the pins style). They seem to be a decent movement but difficult to do in a commercial gym. I think Coan was a fan of these. Starr as well.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]Bauber wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]kalb wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

For me, shrugs only minimally improved my traps. My biggest increases in trap size have come from getting my deadlift up and working on either power cleans or high pulls. The deadlift seems to be the biggest factor though. Kind of amazed me really. I used to always think I had stubborn traps when I was in college ( I never deadlifted but I probably did 3 shrug variations). It may be somewhat a factor of age, but this is the first time I have noticed more trap growth than ever. [/quote]

I totally agree. Same story as mine.

[/quote]

Yup.

Imo shrugs are garbage (for most people). [/quote]

Heavy shrugs make my traps explode. But I also do a lot of fairly heavy deadlifting too.

[/quote]

Ya, lol, I think a guy at your level can benefit from them, but most will not. Again, just my opinion. [/quote]

I was replying on my phone, so my posting was vague and limited. I agree with you. I know a lot of guys who shrug themselves to death with no results and then think I am lying when I tell them my traps were built with heavy shrugs.

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
I have tried power shrugs a couple times (the in a rack, low pull clean grip, let them crash to the pins style). They seem to be a decent movement but difficult to do in a commercial gym. I think Coan was a fan of these. Starr as well. [/quote]

Commercial gyms hate me because I like to bend their bars. And I tell them if they would only get a thicker 100 lbs PL bar, I wouldn’t bend it, fuckers.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Training the (upper) traps is weird. I can barbell shrug above 700lbs with decent form for reps (similar form as the guy in the vid), but actually realized that I can work them even harder (my perception at least) with only 225lbs if I perform them a certain way. While improving the target muscle activation by the way you execute exercise is hardly surprising, the load difference with shrugs is insane.[/quote]

This. Weight IMO is the worst thing on shrugs to focus on

Could never “feel” shrugs the way I feel overhead BB work in the traps. Specially BtN variations (like the bradford press I’m in absolutely love with these days). Trap pump like no other for me…

its kind of the thinking outside the box BBers toolkit, exercises that are suppose to work one area, but benefit you somewhere else entirely.

Shrugs are a condiment.
Deadlifts, heavy carries, snatch-grip high pulls are your meat.

Get quality meat and don’t overuse the condiments and you will have a meal