The trapezius (traps for short) are muscles that when well developed, can show dedication and maturity in your physique that few other muscles can. Whether striking poses for the camera or simply walking around in a T-shirt, well built traps are a huge indicator of a man who has spent many hours in the gym. This is not to say however, that if your traps are under developed that people won’t still get that impression of you, however it does form part of the puzzle that is a complete physique.
Like the calf muscles, the traps are involved as secondary muscles in many exercises and daily movements. Whether pulling or pushing, your traps are involved to some degree, acting as stabiliser muscles. So, just like the calf muscles, they need to be taken through a complete and deliberate range of motion with a little twist added to it. Many people make the mistake of doing their shrugging exercises with an ‘up and down’ kind of movement where you hold the weights in your hands and bring your shoulders as close to your ears as possible. While this motion certain does offer some work to the trapezius muscles, it is not optimal.
Here are some tips to add size to your traps:
- Alternating heavy and light weight – The traps respond well to direct work with stimulus it isn’t used to in your other lifts. Doing a heavy set of dumbbell or barbell shrugs for only a few reps is beneficial because it helps to boost the capacity for strength in your traps. Doing lighter weights allows you to go for a long, drawn out squeeze at the top of the movement; aiding you in making sure that the traps are properly trained by the end of the workout.
- Full range of motion – As mentioned earlier, people mistakenly use the standard ‘up and down’ motion for shrugs to build their traps. The optimal way to shrug would be to have your hands and shoulders completely lowered, squeezing your shoulder blades together and then proceeding to bring the weight as high as you can get it while stopping to squeeze at the top. You will experience an incredible amount of pain, but that’s how you know it is working.
- Heavy deadlifts – Deadlifts done with proper form will go a long way in developing not only impressive trapezius muscles but also a thick, strong back.
These are tips that you can incorporate from your next workout onwards. They are easy to implement and to understand but they produce fantastic results! In a few weeks, watch the way your traps become thicker and fuller; no matter what the occasion!