T Nation

My traps

I’ve heard a lot of talk about how some people’s calves need much more stimulation than their other muscle groups, so they do a huge amount of sets for calves or work the calves almost every day. Could a similar approach work for traps? It seems like my traps don’t respond well no matter what approach I try. I am currently doing a 5 day split with 2 rest days. Anyone think I could get results from using one of my off days to work the hell out of my traps?? And, just for the record, I am NOT asking if you think I should deadlift more; I am NOT asking if I should cut out isolation and do heavy compound movements; and I am NOT asking if I should eat more to grow. So, what does everyone think about this idea?!

Check out Alessi’s trap routine in his latest Iron Dog column a few issues back…this should be of great help.


my traps have grown pretty well so long as i do isolation exercises for them. the only exercise i actually do for traps is the one where you take the biggest free weights you can handle, hold them at your sides, and lift with your traps. one set for me is ten reps angled forward, ten reps straight up, and ten reps angled backwards. Thats worked pretty well for me, i figure when you tense them and you could fit a dime or a quarter in the fold that the muscle creates is pretty good right? (thats really is a question i want answered, i dont know how big traps should actually be)

Go for it. I don’t believe it will hurt you. But, why don’t you try to fit it in with your back workout? Go for 5-6 sets with 30 to 1 min. rest between sets. At the end of each rep hold the shrug for as long as possible. Or try 10 sets.

My traps seem to respond best to heavy barbell shrugs with my chin into my chest. I train them with back and not with delts.

Could someone explain the Upward rotating dumbbell shrug, alternating, unbalanced grip from Don’s Iron Dog column. I can’t figure out how to do this by Don’s explanation. Thanks.

It’s an alternating one arm dumbbell shrug with an offset grip (don’t grip the dumbbell in the middle, rather grip it closer to the back plate). You start with the right arm by rolling your shoulder up and back; hold the top position and then roll your left shoulder up and back. Once you have reached the top position with both arms, reverse the motion starting with the right arm, then the left arm (that is one rep). Repeat for the desired number of reps. You will need straps as your grip will suffer; each set takes a long time.

Mike, not quite sure what you meant with the dime/quarter thing. I’m mostly concerned with how small my traps are when I’m not flexing them. They’re concave and about an inch thick at the top. It’s like they’re not even there! Not even Power Cleans make them grow!!! But I think I will try this new trap routine on an off day in addition to the close grip upright rows and dumbell shrugs I normally do on back day. Thanks guys!

DO power cleans, 1 arm db snatches and partial deads.

Partial deads especially will blow your traps up. If they dont, give up working traps.