T Nation

Trouble Working Traps

I’ve been lifting for about a year now. My traps are lagging and I’ve been trying to work them out with shrugs but I don’t feel like I’m fully utilizing my traps in the exercise. Consequently i don’t feel the burn of working out the traps. Any tips on how to better utilize the traps during the shrugs exercise?
Any other exercises I can perform in order to get dinosaur traps?

Shrugs never really did a lot for me either. It wasn’t until I started putting some real effort into deadlifts that I noticed a lot of improvement in my traps, not to mention the rest of my posterior chain. Also, rack pulls done from just above knee height will definitely do the trick. You may not feel a “burn” from these lifts, but you will be sore as hell for a couple of days after… at least, I usually am (which appeals to the masochist in me). Good luck with your training!

Agreed, if you want impressive traps you will have to deadlift and HEAVY. I like shrugs as a finisher after my deads tho.

My roommate is a football player who power cleans almost twice his bodyweight. His traps are pretty goddamn massive.

He tried to teach me how to clean, and even though I’m pretty sure any coach worth his salt would cringe at my form, I got the high pull portion down pretty well. Just from doing 6 sets of 3 sets with 75 pounds, my traps were sore for two days afterward.

If you don’t have a coach to show you how to clean, try high pulls or upright rows (which seem to me like slower high pulls).

high pulls are awesome for traps. Inferior only to the actual clean/jerk and snatch IMHO. I got much better work out of my traps doing that than shrugs, even with 5 plates and up. All the heavy shrugs seemed to do was tighten up my neck and make me get headaches.

But I also deadlift heavy routinely, so that helps too.

Thanks friends

With shrugs try pausing and squeezing at the top. Try really hard to get your shoulders to touch your ears.

Also mix up the rep range. Do heavy as you can, even if you gotta use a little body english. And also do some lighter sets up to 15-20 reps.

[quote]Psicks wrote:
Agreed, if you want impressive traps you will have to deadlift and HEAVY. I like shrugs as a finisher after my deads tho.[/quote]

Deadlift.

[quote]Fabregas wrote:
Any tips on how to better utilize the traps during the shrugs exercise?[/quote]

Random tips: Emphasize the stretched position for a full second (count one-one-thousand). Use dumbbells by your sides instead of a barbell in front. Use a variety of sets, reps, and weight (light/heavy) in each workout. Keep the shoulders neutral, not hunched forward or pulled excessively back.

Drop the shrugs from your routine, and do this program as your new back workout:

In six weeks you’ll be bigger all over. (Wait, that sounded kinda gross, whoops.)

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Fabregas wrote:
Any tips on how to better utilize the traps during the shrugs exercise?

Random tips: Emphasize the stretched position for a full second (count one-one-thousand). Use dumbbells by your sides instead of a barbell in front. Use a variety of sets, reps, and weight (light/heavy) in each workout. Keep the shoulders neutral, not hunched forward or pulled excessively back.

Any other exercises I can perform in order to get dinosaur traps?

Drop the shrugs from your routine, and do this program as your new back workout:

In six weeks you’ll be bigger all over. (Wait, that sounded kinda gross, whoops.)[/quote]

I’ve been doing The Power Look on Fridays for about four weeks now. I have notice improvement.

I like to end the routine with some heavy DB shrugs.

Are you shrugging your body-weight or more?

DEADLIFT!!! The only thing I think shrugs are good for is making your arms longer!

I’m with the poster on the power cleans. Yes, it is not a conventional BB lift but I had huge traps after 2 years of lifting just from doing those.

Maybe try throwing them in your routine for 6-8 weeks, see how you like them. If not, deadlift.

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
I’m with the poster on the power cleans. Yes, it is not a conventional BB lift but I had huge traps after 2 years of lifting just from doing those.

Maybe try throwing them in your routine for 6-8 weeks, see how you like them. If not, deadlift.[/quote]

yep, even after my brief stint with oly lifting, my traps are still far and away my most dominate bodypart, and all I do is rows, lat pulldowns, and deads.

power cleans ftw

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned power shrugs. Seems to do everything a power clean does for your traps, but with less effort.

snatch pulls, power snatches and clean variation and x2 on power shrugs

[quote]Fabregas wrote:
I’ve been lifting for about a year now. My traps are lagging and I’ve been trying to work them out with shrugs but I don’t feel like I’m fully utilizing my traps in the exercise. Consequently i don’t feel the burn of working out the traps. Any tips on how to better utilize the traps during the shrugs exercise?
Any other exercises I can perform in order to get dinosaur traps?[/quote]

I love shrugs! After DL they added a ton of meat to my traps.
Q: How do you do your shrugs? Sets, Reps, execution style, where in your routine do you put them? BB, DB or trap bar? Standing? Behind back? (forward)incline? Frequency? weight used?

Shrugs work for me, my traps are my best body-part and I don’t even have to work them that much.

farmers walks helped mine near the beginning. although i guess theyre similar to deadlifts (holding a heavy weight in your hands)