T Nation

Getting the 'Power Look'

To achieve large traps or the “power look”, what would people with experience recommend for trap size? High Weight (3-5 reps) or high volume (12-15 Reps)? I have heard both, but what are some of everyones opinions?

I think the bottom line for anything is to change frequently enough that your muscles are in a constant state of trying to adapt. I remember years ago reading an article by CHris Cormier. He went on and on about low reps for legs. A year later, he “wrote” an article where he discoverd that it was high reps that provide growth for legs. The next year, he rediscovered that he was wrong, and it was indeed low reps… I think you see where I’m going.

1- The need for adaptation is what provides the stumulus for muscle growth

2- Professional bodybuidlers can be morons

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I think the bottom line for anything is to change frequently enough that your muscles are in a constant state of trying to adapt. I remember years ago reading an article by CHris Cormier. He went on and on about low reps for legs. A year later, he “wrote” an article where he discoverd that it was high reps that provide growth for legs. The next year, he rediscovered that he was wrong, and it was indeed low reps… I think you see where I’m going.

1- The need for adaptation is what provides the stumulus for muscle growth

2- Professional bodybuidlers can be morons

S
[/quote]

Just because someone finds that something else works better for them than it did 20lbs earlier does not make them a moron. Many guys go back and forth when it comes to legs between higher and lower reps. Both rep ranges seem to work at different periods in a trainer’s life. Legs have always been different from other muscle groups for that reason. The moron would be the one who kept doing the same thing whether it was working best for then or not.

Also, very often an increase in weight is all of the stimulus needed for adaptation, not a complete overhaul of rep ranges and total weight used.

I go heavy on traps like most people should. The muscle group is designed to handle extremely large amounts of weight. It makes no sense to train that muscle group with low weight and high reps. Even when legs are trained with higher reps, the goal is not “LIGHT” weight.

Check this article out by CT, this article has got the best intro to any article ever.

Cracked me up!

Packing a lot of meat on your trapezius muscles is the cornerstone of what I call “the power look.” The power look is simple to recognize. It’s characterized by the sound of jaws dropping to the floor when you enter a room and by the sentence, “Sorry sir, I’m not looking for trouble,” whenever you accidentally bump into someone in a nightclub. The power look is something that can’t be hidden under clothing, nor can it be faked. Regardless of how you’re dressed, you just look damn strong, like an animal ready to charge.

I always train my traps when I train back and I do them last so they are pre-fatigued. Muscle snatches for sets of 3-5 and trap raises in the standing calf raise machine for sets of 12-20.

Overhead shrugs work well, even though you can’t use a lot of weight. You get the nice burn like after rack pulls/deadlifts.

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘burn’.

Jim Wendler’s article on EFS:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/the_yoke.htm

I’ve been trying to bring up my traps and what has seemed to work for me is overloading (obviously) and by performing dumbbell “hangs” (I don’t know what it’s called, I just grab heavy dumbbells and stand there, stretching my traps by letting the weight hang as low as possible.)

Arnold brought up his calves using the 10 X 10 method, so maybe it will work for your traps.

I brought up my traps a lot last spring from before and am in the process of it again. What I can suggest that worked:

traps 3 to 4 times a week.

At the end of a workout, before abs (if you do them) throw in 3 sets of one of these exercises:

overhead barbell shrugs (6 - 10 reps)
haney shrugs (5 - 8 range)
calf raise shrugs (6 - 10 range)
barbell or db shrugs (5 - 8 range)

I used the other shrug variations and they’re just as good. Just make sure it’s as much weight as you can handle without straining your neck.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Even when legs are trained with higher reps, the goal is not “LIGHT” weight.[/quote]

You know what i meant…I didn’t mean “Light Weight”, i meant lighter weight. Your obviously not going to use the same weight for 12-15 reps as you are for 3-5 reps.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
Jim Wendler’s article on EFS:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/the_yoke.htm

[/quote]

that was a good article, thanks :wink:

deadlifts (around 3-6) shurgs (10-15)for a while i was training using deadlifts to accumulated rep max so like id do 5, rest 20sec, do 3, rest 20, do 1 and be done. id increase the weight when my total reps were at 9 or more. so the next time id train with deads id increase the weight so i got a total of about 6

thats whats been going for me. then again im ecto so my traps havent really been a problem

…any version of cleans and olympic moves

If you read both the articles that have been posted (by CT and Jim Wendler) you will see that the main focus is heavy lifts that aren’t trap isolation exercises (such as shrugs). There are no traditional shrugs at all in CT’s article and in Wendler’s they are #5 out of 7 points.

My reccomendation? Heavy ass deadlifts and rack pulls. Olympic lifts are very useful too, as you can see by all the variations CT includes in his article. He is partial to them, however, because he used to compete in olympic lifting, but Wendler also reccomends them so you could throw those in too for good measure. As both authors said, the hang variations are better if you’re looking to build the traps.

Ignore all of this advice about holding onto dumbells to stretch the traps and doing high rep shrugs. Prof X was dead on with his post, you need to handle heavy ass weight to get big traps.

I work in a university gym as a personal trainer, so naturally I get a ton of questions from newbies that train there. The most common one I get is people asking what I do for traps and my answer is nothing. I do heavy deads, the occasional rack pull, and used to do power cleans for football. By my standards I don’t consider any part of my body big, seeing as I weigh about 200 at 5’11, but I guess by someone who’s new to working out I have “big” traps.

My traps have improved alot in the last year however and the main difference in my training has been focusing on deads, getting them up to 520. I also stopped doing power cleans during that time so imo they aren’t really necessary. I can tell you one thing though and that is I see tons of people everyday doing set after set of “burnout” shrugs, and they all possess the “weak look”.

I’ve been trying to develop some meat on my traps for a few months as I want to get that power look going. Perhaps I will add in an extra session just for hang cleans and shrugs for 25-30 minutes. I already do the deads, so thats taken care of my on back day…I cant see a easy way to sneak up 5 sets of hang cleans, so I can just throw them in after work or something.

it seems to me like athletes who do a lot of pulling (PL and oly lifters) have awesome traps (and forearms)

I think it’s probably just a matter of lots of tonnage and high frequency.

I also think an explosive triple extension, whether from a power shrug, hang powerclean or hang power snatch is a more intense load on the traps than a non-explosive traps-only shrug, this is just my gut feeling though.

I rarely train my traps, realizing that most of my development comes from the heavy back work I do. I think most experienced lifters (BBers, or PLers) will have similar tales. Sure you sure train everything directly, at least a bit, but sometimes it can be overkill. How many guys do you see completing 25 sets for biceps, then throw in a few chins at the end for their back. Then, go look at the guy who destroys his back, but tosses in a few sets of curls at the end. I’d put my money that the 2nd guy will have the larger biceps.

As to my earlier comment (Prof…), I’ll clarify. Understanding that different training protocols will have an effect at different stages for specific adpatalogicol (is that a word?!) reasons is intelligent training. Constantly thinking you’ve been wrong with your earlier theories and that you’ve only now discovered the real holy grail method of training is just dumb.

I like this site because most people on here implement a highly intelligent approach to their training (prefering to cite something they read by Poliquin as opposed to something in Flex magazine). As such, my earlier mentioned readings struck me as quite entertaining.

S

Stu, I usually like your posts, but;

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I rarely train my traps, realizing that most of my development comes from the heavy back work I do. I think most experienced lifters (BBers, or PLers) will have similar tales. Sure you sure train everything directly, at least a bit, but sometimes it can be overkill. How many guys do you see completing 25 sets for biceps, then throw in a few chins at the end for their back. Then, go look at the guy who destroys his back, but tosses in a few sets of curls at the end. I’d put my money that the 2nd guy will have the larger biceps.[/quote]

Gee, how about the guy who sets specific days to train back and biceps separately? How about the guy who doesn’t neglect anything at all?

I see this ‘either or’ scenario thrown around a lot and I really don’t get it. I was never under the impression that the goal was to half ass anything.

[quote]
As to my earlier comment (Prof…), I’ll clarify. Understanding that different training protocols will have an effect at different stages for specific adpatalogicol (is that a word?!) reasons is intelligent training. Constantly thinking you’ve been wrong with your earlier theories and that you’ve only now discovered the real holy grail method of training is just dumb.[/quote]

See, this is where I will strongly doubt that Cormier (if he even wrote the article since most of them DON’T) wrote that he found the “holy grail” of training.

I wouldn’t cite Poliquin because I don’t read Poliquin. In fact, I don’t read much by many of these authors unless someone links a discussion to something they wrote.

A program isn’t “highly intelligent” unless you are growing faster and getting stronger than the majority on it. I would bet that most of the guys doing all of the “citing” from this or that author would also be some of the smallest/weakest members on this site. Why is that?

Well, I like to think that the bottom line in any training theory is that what works for one person may not work for another. And yes, so many people (especially newbs) do get caught up in all the high tech mumbo-jumbo and just forget about busting their asses under the weights (I can’t tell you how many young kids come up to me starting every sentence with “I read somewhere that…”).

I don’t think I was saying that you should neglect bicep training. I don’t, but, I have been able to get by on somewhat abreviated training when time constraints are an issue (I have been training for 14 years, so yes, I guess I do have more of a foundation than a lot of younger trainers).

I couldn’t train my biceps for almost an entire year due to an injury (couldnt train the right one, so didnt want to train the left one and create a ridiculous imbalance). But, with the back workouts I was able to do, I barely lost any arm size. I think the real root of what I was attempting to get at is the kids who focus on the ‘show’ muscles, while neglecting the bigger ones. If they did more chins, and less curls (I’m not syaing not to do curls), they would grow better overall.

Don’t take this badly Prof, I’ve always been a fan of your writings on here as well.

S