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The Best Traps and Shoulder Exercises


What's the best exersices for upper trap,mid trap, lower trap and lateral delt?


I like to do close grip row. Take the barbell and push one side into a corner, take the close grip handle from the seated row or wherever and put it near the other side. Put a bunch of 25 pound plates on it and stand over the bar, bend over a little and pull in all the way to your chest. The point of the 25 pound plates is so you can pull in higher, the 45 pound plates are too big, less range of motion. This works your upper and mid traps pretty well.


Yeah, essentially a t-bar. Also, narrow grip behind the neck lat pulldowns.


Shrugs. Rack pulls / deadlifts. Rear Flyes.

Shrugs with the face down. Rack pulls / deadlifts. Rear flyes.

Rack pulls / deadlifts. Rows. Lat-work in general.



Rack pull with pinching the shoulder blades up top and shrugs pretty much win for traps.


What do you know you're not muscular............oh wait..........damn.




Only thing to add not already mentioned are face pulls


The day after i doggy style with the mrs, my rear delts and upper traps are always pumped, i feel it the next day aswell! Not so much as an exercise but i'm just killin 2 birds with 1 stone!


Upper/mid traps - Power shrugs from above knee, Wolfe Face Pulls, Elbows-out Barbell Rows, Rack Pulls

Lower trap - You'll have to specialize this one to get at it, most people's lower traps are weak as fuck since other stronger muscle groups will take over. This is not an exercise for muscle growth, it can be considered a 'prehab' exercise. Lie stomach down on a 30 degree incline bench, have two light DBs in hands. Raise them like you are making a Y, slow and controlled. Keep arms straight.

Lateral delts - side raises and other variations


Here you go OP:

An article published a few months ago called


The Y's are a great activation move! Hold the DB's with the thumb side up (neutral grip).

You can hit the lower traps with some decent weight using 'Stiff Arm Dips' (reverse shrug motion).

Hits the serratus nice to!


The answer is hang cleans for traps


Over Deads/rack pulls & shrugs/power shrugs?

I think not.

(Waylander is a freak of nature (<3), so don't use his cleaning ass as an example. Kid did powercleans in high school and hasn't had to work his trap since. Lucky bastard.)

Also, you get the added benefit with shrugs and deads you don't get with cleans: massive loads.

I can pull in the very low 500's, and power shrug in the low 600's. There aren't many people cleaning that. I can shrug 405 30 times, not many people cleaning half that. So... My point being, that my body is more accustomed to heavy ass weight than someone working up to a 225 hang clean.


There's something about hang cleans that just build a nasty yoke, though (I'm guessing it's all of that acceleration). Obviously if you are a bodybuilder and your technique sucks, power shrugs all the way (great for erectors too).


I'm certainly not saying your shouldn't do them if you want, I just don't think they are better than deads & shrugs.


if you're talking the best SINGLE EXERCISE for the muscle groups mentioned then the answer is either hang cleans or facepulls with an emphasis on pulling your arms out at the end of the movement in a 'Y' manner, IMO. Obviously you can probably get better development by doing, say, rack pulls with scap retraction for traps and variations of lateral raises for side delts.


I'd pick a good lateral machine over DB laterals any day... Progress enough on those and the difference can be crazy, esp. for people who just don't get much out of laterals normally.


Is a behind the back shrugs better then a shrugs done in front?


You guys can do shrugs behind the back ? Don't your ass get in the way ?