T Nation

Bigger Traps And Shoulders?


I was wondering what articles and what exercises can I do in order to have bigger traps and shoulders..

I really can't do upright rows because it really hurts my shoulders and right now I don't have a shrug bar to do it with.

I was wondering what I could do in order to have them.

Thanks T-Nation


Rows (will hit the "mid" trap area)
DB Shrugs
BB Shrugs
Overhead Presses
Bench Press (any variation)

just a few


Upright rows suck.

As far as not having a bar, join a gym. Lack of a bar means you are extremely limited so you may want to put forth the effort to attain the basic equipment before you expect magical shoulders.

Shrugs work, period. I personally don't think anything else is needed for trap development.

As far as the rest of your shoulders:
overhead presses with barbell or dumbbells or both.
Lateral raises
Arnold presses (I have used these in the past from time to time)
One armed lateral dumbbell raises (I never did these until I saw a competitor who weighed about 270lbs with abs showing doing them. Since I added them in, I have seen more development in my lateral head) They are done one arm at time.
bent over laterals or pec deck "laterals" for the rear head.

Those are the main exercises for shoulders.

Again, upright rows suck.


Check out "The Power Look Program," "Shoulder Overhaul," and the "Superhero Program (Phase 1)." All good programs with good exercise choices.


I agree, they can be brutal on the shoulders. I find that using DBs for them give a bit of freedom in the movement (over a bar), still not a favorite of mine.


upright rows DO suck.

Shrugs work.

Farmers walk is one of my favorites.

Heavy deads and cleans.


Very much agree on the upright rows btw. There are definetly better exercises that are safer on the joints and provide an overall better training effect. I actually like Power Pulls (description in "The Power Look" article). They are similar, but different enough to poassibly make them worthwhile doing.


Whats wrong with them? Just asking because I havent done them in a long time and was thinking about adding them back into my program.

I've heard that they cause some shoulder impingement, but that if you use a wider grip and only bring the bar up as far as your sternum that you'd be ok.

Again, I have no idea, I've never studied this stuff.


Yup, main problem is with impingement.

The area between the top of the humerous and the acromion process of the scapula doesn't leave much room. When the arm is raised in such a manner it closes this gap causing the impingement.

I just think that other exercises can be done to avoid this problem and still be just as effective.


You can have monster traps in 2 weeks.

Do this:


not pussy weight either. real weight. more than you can hold in your hands. use straps if you want traps, you should be able to do at least 225 if your a wuss, and 405+ if your not.

Do this every work out every day

staggard sets

once every 15-30 minutes
1 ballistic all out set.

easiest muscle there is to build in the shortest amount of time.

SHRUG!......don't do anything else.


They can be murder on the rotator, and frankly, IMO of course, are a waste of time. Do some HEAVY behind the back shrugs along with maybe some heavy dumbell shrugs, and you can get the traps burning far better than any upright rowing is ever going to do. I learned this the hard way and dropped them from my routine quite a while ago. My progress in the trap\upper shoulder area has increased greatly since then.


In agreement with the upright rows. Too much chance for impingment on me.


Haven't done shrugs in a while, but thinking about putting them back in. Used to like them with a trap bar, but don't have one now. So what do you guys think, barbell or DB shrugs, which is better?


I do hang cleans. Even if you have been doing shrugs with heavy weight, these will make your traps sore. I like doing around 5 work sets, between 5 and 1 reps. Then 3 sets of heavy shrugs, followed by two sets back shrugs. If you do not have access to a cambered bar (trap bar), you can use the smith machine. This is actually one of the only uses I have found for the smith machine.



Shrugs, bent shrugs, bent lateral raises, face pulls, conventional deads, etc will hit the traps. Don't focus solely on the upper traps, the ones you see between your shoulders and neck. The traps run clear down your back. Be sure to hit the entire trap!



Any oly lift.


Definitely agree with the shrugs and heavy deads. As far as overall I really like the bradford press and the leaning lateral raise.


traps- hise shrugs, similarly shrugs using the calf raise machine. working with more than you can keep in your hands is good. usually my grip is toast after deads on back day anyways.


Try some power shrugs. I like the hise shrugs also. Good call.


Shrugs didn't do a thing for me. If anything, the only type of shrug worth doing is a power shrug. From my understanding, traps are mostly composed of fast twitch fibers, and as a result need EXPLOSIVENESS and heavy weights to grow.

Once I started doing cleans from the floor, dumbbell snatch, and all of the good oly stuff, my traps exploded in the first month. Don't forget deadlifts and farmers walk, too.