By Scott Mooney
SIX STAR AMBASSADOR
Deadlifts should be the staple of EVERYONE’S workout. Try all different variations: conventional barbell deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, dumbbell deadlifts, wide-grip deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, rack pulls. The list goes on and on. The deadlift is the best exercise for the whole posterior chain, and it is a fantastic way to pack on mass to your traps.
Shrugs are the go-to exercise to isolate the traps. Make sure you keep your arms straight and pull only using your traps. DON’T roll your shoulders. Let the weight pull your arms down and stretch the traps, followed by a hard squeeze at the top. Try with a barbell or dumbbells. Also try while lying face down on an incline bench. Get creative and force your traps to grow.
3. UPRIGHT ROWS
Upright rows are notorious for causing shoulder issues. While this is true, upright rows are a great trap builder. To keep the shoulders healthy, ditch the barbell and try dumbbells instead. This allows you to raise the dumbbells higher and put less strain on the shoulder.
4. FARMER’S WALK
Farmer’s walks are a very basic exercise. This is simply grabbing some heavy dumbbells and walking with your arms straight down at your side. Set a goal distance and try as hard as you can to reach it. Give these a go and your upper back will be screaming.
5. DON’T USE MOMENTUM
With all upper-back and shoulder exercises, do not use momentum to move the weight. Go heavy, but not so heavy that your form breaks. Allow only the targeted muscles to work. For example, during a shrug, don’t bend the knees and push up with the legs to move the weight up. Keep all limbs straight and pull up using ONLY the traps. The more you can isolate them, the more they will grow!
6. USE WRIST STRAPS
A quote by Jason Ferruggia says, “No straps, no traps!” The idea behind this is that wrist straps takes the grip out of the exercise and allows your back muscles to fail before your grip does. This is a great strategy specifically for building traps. Use straps for your heavy deadlifts, shrugs and farmer’s walks if building big traps is your goal.