7 Moves to Massive Traps

Massive Traps

If you have big arms that are not connected to giant shoulders and traps, then you need to focus on some serious trapezius training. Keep in mind that trapezius training is not for the faint of heart, but well developed traps are a must for that polished physique.

If you are looking for some killer moves to develop massive traps, then look no further because we are going to talk about five moves to building massive traps.


Okay, so I am partial to the deadlift. To me, this is the exercise that is the cornerstone of any good weight development program. Whether you are training as a bodybuilder, power-lifter, or strongman, the deadlift is highly important to your training regimen.

The deadlift assists with trap development mainly from the upper portion of the movement. The trapezius muscles, along with other muscles in the back, contract to maintain a straight back. The traps also assist with keeping your chest up high during the pull.

Rack Pull Shrug

To perform a rack pull shrug, use a squat rack with the safety pins at knee height. Perform the rack pull shrug with 120% of your deadlift one rep max. Pull the bar up to lock out the weight and then shrug it all in a single motion.


The clean is one of the most underrated exercises for strength and power. During the initial lift of the clean, the lower traps are utilized to lift the weight. During the second portion of the lift, a shrugging motion working the upper traps.

Dumbbell Shrug

I prefer the dumbbell shrug to the barbell shrug, but let’s face it. Most gyms do not have heavy enough dumbbells that allow for us to do the dumbbell variation. This variation of the shrug allows you to get a more natural raise with the traps and definitely puts more tension on the traps.

Barbell Shrug

The aforementioned dumbbell shrugs are still tops for me, but that is not to say that I will not perform the barbell variation every chance I get. The barbell allows you to pile on the plates and have a serious trap workout.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Upright Row

Take a dumbbell and flare out your elbows, which is where this movement starts. Pretend that someone is pulling your arm up as if it were on a string. Alternate arms and feel the burn.

Face Pull

Whether you perform the face pull on a low pulley, a high pulley or a mid-level pulley, face pulls need to be a routine part of your trap training. These days I focus on the high pulley and the pulley directly in the middle with the latter getting a lot of reps as of late. Stand a couple of feet from the attachment in order to get the optimal angle for trapezius recruitment.

1 Response

  1. Great article on traps Mike! I’m a 66 yr old bb that does most of these; shrug 95-100 lb dumbbells. Love the face pull too. Need to add more rack pulls that I have been putting off.
    Thanks again for great tips!

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