T Nation

Traps Won't Grow


i am doing shrugs and overhead shrugs but my traps won't grow. I use a weight that i can lift about 12 times, in good form. Are there any tricks for growing traps......or maye other exercises that work better?

p.s. cannot do any sort of deadlift due to my lower back injury


Load up some serious weight here and there and do some power shurgs,...also start with some cleans.
And, make sure that when you do shrug, you are pulling back on the weight and isolating the trap/rear delt. I have seen alot of people with this problem because they were shruging and their shoulders wound up infront of their face.


Rack Deadlifts. My traps grew pretty quick with these.

For shrugs I could do maybe 275 with good form, but I could rack deadlift about 375 which also hits the traps good.

375 > than 275


Mine only grew when I shrugged extremely heavy.

and deads...Just curious I have broken my back and deads are one of the only things that stops mine from hurting. What did you do that hurt it so badly that you can't do deads with good form?




What's the rest of your training look like, especially back work)? What results have you seen overall (bodyweight increase, strength increase)?

It could be as simple as trying a new exercise for a while, like a Voyer shrug

or a two-position shrug

Care to elaborate on this point? Depending on what the issue is, and how it's being treated, you could be really limited in your exercise selection since most trap work (like rack pulls) will significantly load the lower back.


Power up your workout man. Start with some high pulls and then do some power shrugs. Prioritize your strength, get the shrugs to above 315, at least.


I find that doing a shrug at the top of a dumbbell squat works better than regular dumbbell shrugs. Why this is, I do not know. Perhaps because it's a compound movement.

The other thing I have done in the past is walking dumbbell lunges while holding a shrug through the entire set. In other words, you are in the contracted position the whole time.


All of the responses in this thread so far have royally failed to address the deeper problem here.

Gain 20lbs of bodyweight and add another plate to each side of the bar for those 12 reps. This will take quite a few months if you didn't already figure out that muscle doesn't appear overnight.


I wouldn't exactly say that all of the previous posts failed, but this situation does happens a lot of the time. A guy asks "'Bodypart Z' isn't growing. What should I do?" Other guys start from that question and run forward, when really, it's usually more important to take a look at the bigger picture.

No offense to Philly, but we don't know his age, height, weight, or lifting experience. Maybe he's been lifting for two months. Maybe he's 137 pounds. Not that we need a novel for every question asked, but basic profile info would be a great start.


thanks guys.

I am 6'5 and about 220lb. Have been lifting for about 1 year. I will try your suggestions and see if anything changes. thanks


I don't think shrugs alone ever built great traps. Rack pulls and hang cleans and presses are what works for me.


Eat more ~ you may have stalled due to not continuing to progress. How much do you shrug? Great traps can be built on shrugs alone - but there are many ways to accomplish this.

What are you shrugging?


Worked for Jonnie Jackson....


I just suggested another exercise he could lift with heavier weight to put on some size...how is that a royal fail? There really isn't one answer to this question anyway, so to say anyones response is completely incorrect is kinda short-sighted.


Do this a few times a week, they'll grow.


Olympic lifts...


not worth it, for his goals


i did wonder for a while how the girl in your avatar managed to get her legs at them angles... and then it dawned on me, i turn everything into something sexual.


Um... training for an 800+ pound deadlift probably helped a bit too.