T Nation

Working Traps With Not Very Heavy Dumbbells



For work reasons I'm only going to have access to to dumbbells and a bench for an extended period of time. Heaviest dumbbell pair is 40 kg (88 pounds). Wonder if anyone has any suggestions on how to get the most out of them as far as trap training goes?


those should be just fine, shrugs: high reps and deep stretch at the bottom and coming all the way up, none of that shoulder rolling bullshit you see people doing in the gym


you could do a complex, something like:

Snatches -> cleans -> high pulls

I know whenever I do stuff like that it smokes the shit out of my traps. You wouldn't need heavy dumbells either. Keep the reps high.


Nice long peak holds 3-5s at the too of each rep and then if you want 1-5s stretch on each rep. Start sets of 12 and work up as needed


You're better off imo. Super heavy shrugs is like the least effective thing I've ever done for my traps. Do holds for a few seconds at the top, and get a big peak contraction. Also do high pulls and that sort of thing. Snatch grip high pulls is probably the best thing there is for traps. Assuming you don't have an atlas stone lol.


I'm nervous that you don't seem curious about how to train legs when you're stuck with not-very-heavy dumbbells.


Timed sets of shrugs where you count every second your traps are contracted instead of every rep. Shoot for 1 minute per set. Super set with band face pulls.

You can also do DB snatches, DB cleans, and DB upright rows.


All good options, and don't forget Farmer's Walks.


dumbbell shrugs are an inferior way to develop traps

better options:
barbell shrugs
farmer walks
power cleans
high pulls
rack pulls


C'mon. At least read the first post!


Might want to read the OP's statement where he said:


Cool story bro.


Is it an adjustable bench? If not put plates under one side lie face down and shrug the dumbbells.


You could throw in some lateral raises.


^^^ This is good stuff. Pulling from the floor and heavy carries work. ^^^

Consider also, cleaning the DBs for each rep of any overhead pressing you do.

Farmers Walks are wonderful for traps. But your weights aren't enough to really tax them. If you like the idea of a "finisher", consider Two Arm Waiter Walks which, whilst second rate, may add a little to the traps and neck... and will do your ego the world of good when you look at yourself in the mirror after (from the pump). Possibly starting with the 40kg, and dropsetting down a further four pairs.

+1 Chris's comment about legs.

How've you gotten on since your original post? Was anything above helpful?


What do you recommend, sir?


One option would be:

A) Goblet squat 3x8-10 (working for depth, pause at the bottom for a legit 1-count)
B1) DB Romanian deadlift 3x10-12 (slower tempo positive and negative)
B2) Reverse lunge 3x10-12 (Not alternating. All reps one leg, then switch)
C) DB squat/dead 1 1/2 reps 4x6-8 (down, halfway up, down, all the way up is one rep)
D1) Standing flatfoot calf raise 3x10-15 (5-count pause at the top)
D2) Siff lunge 3x8-10


Box step ups with 176# is pretty heavy.
Start the rep on with the ground foot on tip toes.


Back to traps, I did overhead dick's presses last night and my traps were toasted.


High pulls
* Elbows flared
* Elbows tucked
Leaning shrugs
Face pulls
Front squat holds

Increase TUT - high rep sets, slow eccentrics, density training

There are tons of ways you can hit the traps hard with those weights. Remember though, that your traps are more than just the bumps by your neck.