Best Moves for Building Big, Nasty Traps

#5. Bent-Over Rear Lateral Raises or Reverse Pec Decks

The bent-over rear lateral raises and the reverse pec decks are basically the same movement, performed at different body angles. Both exercises have powerful ability to hit the posterior delts, traps and rhombs, and thereby optimize shoulder development by killing three birds with one stone – it’s always a good idea to add some extra thickness to these often neglected parts of the shoulder area.

For the bent-over lateral raises, you need a pair of dumbbells, while the reverse pec deck requires access to a pec deck machine. That means that the bent-over version requires maintaining overall balance all throughout the movement, while the reverse pec deck can help you isolate the muscles without having to worry about stability. That being said, it’s best to alternate both exercises from week to week and get the best of both worlds. No matter what you choose to do, make sure to squeeze your mid traps hard together at the top portion of the movement. Don’t worry about the weight and just focus on proper form (don’t arch your back!) and achieving an optimal contraction.


Bent-Over Rear Lateral Raises

#6. Kettlebell Upright Rows With a Rope

When it comes to building shoulder strength, performing upright rows with a kettlebell offers a greater variety of benefits when compared to other rowing variations. As a bonus, the extra thickness of the kettlebell handle will help improve your grip and add size to your forearms. However, if you want some brutal muscle-tearing fun, get a few feet of rope, put it through the kettlebell handle, grab both ends of the rope (about 4 inches from the kettlebell on both sides) and lift until both hands are above sternum height. For maximum gains, use higher set and rep ranges.

The Workout

As we said before, in order to stimulate significant trap growth, you have to hit these bad boys with ball-busting workouts designed especially for them. That being said, these workouts are not a replacement for your back routine, so you will still need to do your regular back training with exercises such as dumbbell and barbell rows. If you’re not sure how to combine the aforementioned trap exercises into an effective workout, here are two great sample workouts to get you started:

Sample Trap Workout #1

–    Paused shrugs with dumbbells: 4 sets x 12 reps
–    Dumbbell lawnmowers: 5-8 sets x 8-15 reps
–    Front plate raises with a 25-pound plate: 1 set x 100 reps
–    Bent-over rear lateral raises: 4 sets x 20 reps

Sample Trap Workout #2

–    Behind-the-neck press: top set of 5 reps, back-off sets of 8-20 reps
–    Paused shrugs with cambered bar: 4 sets x 12 reps
–    Kettlebell upright rows with a rope: 4 sets x 12-20 reps
–    Reverse pec decks: 4 sets x 20 reps

Take Home Message

A bodybuilder with huge guns and zero trap development looks unsatisfying and incomplete and the worst part is that the traps are an area that you can’t hide when posing, no matter what! And since one of the key ideas in bodybuilding is achieving the best aesthetics possible, this body part deserves as much attention as any other.

However, the traps are more complex than most guys out there realize as they try to make them grow by performing countless shrugs with light weights and casual form. If you want your trap development to skyrocket, add the workouts described above to your weekly training routine and we guarantee that it will be your first, most important step to greatness. Needless to say, an exercise done correctly is infinitely better than an exercise done poorly but with more weight, so make sure your form is flawless and train regularly as described above and soon enough you’ll be shopping for bigger T-shirts!

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