T Nation

Power Move for Traps?


What will be the best power move for developing traps? Power cleans? Power high-pulls? Power low-pulls?

For clarification, Power-clean works more of the entire body rather than traps, right? Trying to find the best exercise for power and trap development.




Personally found that high pulls with a snatch grip really hit the traps hard. The snatch grip seems to emphasise the the traps more than a clean grip.


Jump shrugs are awesome too.


I tried high-pulls today with both the snatch and the clean grip. Definitely felt it in the traps.

What are some moves that will help in increasing the weight for high-pulls? Will low-pulls be useful for this?

Also, should regular barbell shrugs supplement high-pulls?



HEAVY shrugs, snatches, power cleans, and reverse shrugs (my personal favorite) are all extremely effective for trap development.


On "light back day" or "speed day," do high pulls for sets of 3-5 reps. On "heavy back day" or "maximum effort day," do heavy low pulls for 1-3 reps. Every second M.E. day, do some form of deadlifts instead, followed by a few heavy, low-rep shrugs. Do the pulls and shrugs with straps; train your grip separately. You'll get bigger and stronger traps than you will get from shrugs alone.


if you want big traps get a big deadlift..also get a tire for tire flips and start using it twice a week your traps will grow like weeds...bm


Coach Joe, pretty solid advice. So do you recommend training hams with back? I have always done deadlifts on leg days and alternate with heavy squats. Also, when you say "light back day", what combination will be good?

T-Matt: I have been doing power cleans and have seen good improvements. However, I am worried about my form. I have never had a coach or an exeprienced trainer to teach me the move.

BM: Working on getting deads up again. Had an injury that made me neglect legs for a while. What do you recommend with tires? Didn't quite get it.




Military press iso holds hammer em!


get a 400 pound used tire...they will give it to your free at a recyle place or tire company....and do tire flips just like they do in the worlds strongest man contest....start out with 3 sets of 10 and as your work capacity improves up the volume...it is the best upper back, trap and forearm builder there is in my opinion...bm


snatch grip high pulls, was doing snatches and high pulls the other day and my traps awe swollen man. Love these things, i too have the same problem not having access to a coach which is a bummmer, but i feel im doing decently.


BM- Thanks. I'm gonna do that. Just gotta find a tire first.


I use a shit-simple "upper-body/lower-body" workout split, because it doesn't exceed my I.Q. level and doesn't require me to live in the gym. It's much like the Westside 4 workouts/week system, except that I spread the workouts over 9 or 10 days, by lifting 3X/week. (I'm seriously OLD.) Power Sq & Dl use many of the same muscles, so I work 'em on the same day. One "lower-body day" is for max-effort SQ or Box-SQ, followed by "speed work" (high pulls, with straps) for the back and other assistance work (hamstrings, abs, grip calves, 12-15 min. of interval cardio). Two days later, comes a max-effort "upper-body" day or a "speed-BP" day, similar to Westside training.
After another 2 days, comes the second lower-body workout: heavy low-pulls w. straps or some form of deadlift, working up to a max-effort double or triple and then down to a hard 5-set, followed by several sets of 60-70% Low-Box SQ doubles for speed and assistance work similar to the other lower-body day. Three days later, I get the other "upper-body" day. Maximum-effort DL's or Rack DL's only happen about once every 24 days, but I built a W.R. DL this way: high pulls and low pulls actually do work!
Strength & courage,
Coach Joe


thanks everyone for the solid advice.