Top Tips to Build Bigger Traps

Are you interested in building a mighty wreath of muscle around your neck?

If yes, then you must know that truly incredible traps, the ones that give an impression of pure power, are built with barbell shrugs, period.

While it’s true that you also need to target the muscles with a variety of other movements to spur maximum muscle growth, the backbone of your trap workout should always be barbell shrugs.

One of the popular names in bodybuilding who train according to this strategy is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has mentioned that serious bodybuilders should include shrugs in their back or shoulder workouts in one of his recent articles.

Overall, building your traps is not as difficult as many bodybuilders think.

You just need to keep it simple and avoid the confusion of complicated routines – after all, the road to glorious traps is built on hundreds upon hundreds of heavy shrugs.

Read on to learn how to use the power of shrugging correctly and get those damn traps to grow!


Shrugs are an incredibly effective exercise for building your traps, that is if you do it correctly, but most gym goers don’t – they tend to use too much weight which doesn’t allow the muscle to fully contract.

Since the trapezius muscles are mostly endurance muscles, they respond better to higher rep workouts with lighter loads.

The correct weight is one that allows you to work completely through the range of motion using strict technique and complete three sets of 10-15 reps.


Shrugging involves lifting your shoulders as high as you can toward your ears.

You can do it with a pair of dumbbell, a barbell or the handles of a shrug machine.

The proper way to do it is to hold the position of full contraction and squeeze at the top, then slowly lower your shoulders and fully stretch at the bottom.

Make sure to keep your head up during the movement.

And don’t roll your shoulders forward and back as you shrug, as that is useless and potentially dangerous.

Working Your Traps Indirectly

Every back muscle works really hard when you deadlift – even your rear deltoids are involved at some point of the lift.

During conventional deadlifts, it’s the traps’ job to keep the upper back area rigid so that the force generated by the hips can be transmitted to the bar.

So, in addition to shrugs, you may consider adding some heavy deadlifts to your routine to really boost your growth.

You can even finish reps of deadlifts with a pronounced shrug.


To complete the assault on your traps include rowing variations and overhead presses in your workout.

The best choice is the upright row, which is considered to be one of the best muscle building exercises for the back and shoulders.

To do it correctly, stand with legs at a comfortable distance apart and grab a barbell or a pair of dumbbells and allow it to hang in front of you at the length of your arms.

Adjust your grip so that your hands are about in line with the thighs and lift the barbell straight up toward the chin, leading with the elbows and keeping the bar close to the body.

Your arms should go no higher than parallel with the shoulders.

Keep your back straight. Pause at the top and return to starting position.


For maximum growth, you need to put in maximum effort.

Implement these tips and train hard and you’ll be rewarded with mighty beastlike traps that make heads turn.

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