T Nation

Traps - I Really Need Some Help


I need some help building my traps to help build up/disguise my genetically pencil-like neck. I've shrugged the heaviest dumbbells that my back and forearms will let me pick up, but I just can't get my traps to grow. I'm over 40 yrs. old and need to get some traps!
Any suggestions?


Have you done a search for training articles to help?
Page 3;



And you weigh how much? Your traps aren't going to grow much if the rest of you isn't and you aren't gaining any weight.


Try cleaning.


you need to do heavy barbell shrugs, use straps or hooks in your grip gives out on you. do them in a power rack, also try cleans, heavy rack pulls, barbell upright rows, barbell rows, t-bar rows. as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. do ascending pyramids or ramping. doing this will increase your strength mass in a matter of weeks if done right


How much do the DB's your using weigh? Also, how you are doing your shrugs plays a big part in my opinion. I've seen guys throw plate after plate on a bar and kinda bounce it up and down like many do with seated calves. Needless to say their trap development isn't stellar.

When I do them, I prefer to let the weight stretch the muscle out, shrug hard up and try to put my shoulders in my ears and hold it for a second. Then lower the weight under control back down to a good stretch.


Have you tried wrist straps to help you hold on to the weight? Have you ever tried power shrugs with a BB or power cleans/power snatches? My traps blew up after doing Olympic lifting because of all the Oly variations. Frequency was pretty high too. How often are you working traps?


Your profile says you've been training for 22 years, are 6'2 and 195. At what point did you discover that your traps were weak?

Like the Doc said, or implied anyway, you need more mass overall. Very pronounced traps on say even 200 or 205 at your height would look goofy at best in my opinion if it's even possible.

At 6'2 and normal genetics even at 40 you can still get another 20 lean pounds on your bones. If you say I don't really want to get bigger, I just want bigger traps, you're spinning your wheels. You may get a little bit more meat there, but why not do it everywhere so that even if you are genetically disadvantaged in your traps (which I doubt) you can still look bigger overall and draw attention away from them?


Without knowing this guy's current stats or his goal in body weight, handing out specific exercises is useless. Also, there is no better movement for traps than shrugs.


Rack pull 8 plates per side for reps, while retracting your shoulders back, and that'll take care of it. If you can't currently do that much, work your way up to that level, and you'll be satisfied with your traps. What's another 1-2 years out of 22...


Traps can never look too big lol

I've tried doing shrugs slowly and squeezing at the top but have always found that when I just go really heavy the next day my traps ache like crazy.


When posts like this come up...it should be a requirement to post pics of the body part you are recommending exercises for...so we can see how well that worked for you.

I see everything from cleans to rack pulls handed out but haven't seen that many people on the board with HUGE traps as a result of this.


True I understand where you are coming from. Little variation couldn't hurt though. I won't say I have "huge" traps, but they got significantly better when I did Oly lifting for a time.


Did anyone say upright rows? I think they worked pretty well for me.


I like doing semi-heavy bb power shrugs, where you cheat the weight up using your legs. I only can go up to 7 pps but I know most people can do way more than me 8 - 10 pps. I will post pic of my small traps tonight.


I understand that, and I am not degrading you...but we get all of these posts about this and that specific exercise that supposedly works bets for a body part...but the people giving this advice are usually far from big.

I know shrugs work because I built really large fucking traps from them and they get talked about regularly. I don't see the same on those claiming everyone should do cleans for big traps.

This is a bodybuilding forum afterall. I want to SEE what works if it supposedly works so well.


sorry, not a fan. Good chance of shoulder impingement, with little reward. Other ways to skin the cat IMO.


X when you do shrugs do you find it best to stretch it out at the bottom and squeeze at the top cause like I said earlier i feel it more the next day when I just go heavy and don't worry too much about the squeeze but my traps are still pretty small?


I squeeze NOW. I did not for years when I was really building them at first. I squeeze on a lot of movements now, but that is because I have maxed out most machines and I feel that squeezing the muscle at the peak of contraction helps with more growth. My Hammer Strength shrug only holds 5 plates a side. I don't use straps and since I can handle that well, I squeeze at the top to create greater "resistance".

In other words, bodybuilding is about progression. What some huge guy does now may not be what he did to get that big to begin with...it may simply be what he is doing to take it even further.


Ha, you're kidding I hope. How many people on the board can rack pull 8 plates per side for reps? Sure, shrugs will strictly emphasize the traps more so than rack pulls, which will of course target other areas, but if you can deadlift or rack pull a significant amount of weight, while retracting your shoulders or shrugging backwards, for reps, your traps will grow.

The comment was made in jest, anyways.

EDIT: I never said I have big traps, nor did I say I can rack pull 8 plates per side for reps. I don't need to be able to do it to know it will create big traps, like I don't need to shrug similar or more weight to know it will create big traps or repping 4 plates per side on bench will create large pecs.