Trap Workout And How To Grow Your Traps!

There are many ways to to grow your traps! There are many traps workouts that you didn’t know!

traps workout

  • If you are wondering how often you should work out your traps, the answer is, as often as possible.

Doing barbell and dumbbell shrugs is probably not the best traps workout or way to grow your traps muscle tissue.

All shrugs are going to do is add volume to the high of your traps. That kind of traps workout will not make your traps massive!

If you look at the anatomy chart of the human body, you will see that traps are a very big muscle.

  • They are not these two little muscles that go from your shoulders to your neck. They are also easy to injure so know the importance of stretching.

Trapezius go through the big portion of your upper middle back.  A trap workout that just involves shrugs, does not stimulate the entire muscle.

It only stimulates a very small portion of your traps.

traps workout

If you look at your body from the front, only the muscle by your collar bone is the one that will be stimulated.

So What Is A Killer Traps Workout To Grow Them?

If you want big traps, you simply have to lift heavy!

The heavy stuff is what is going to build your traps the fastest way!

Exercises like deadlifts, bent over barbell rows, and t-bar rows will be the most effective.

  • People that have great trapezius, do not focus on shrugs, I guarantee you that!

Try doing this workout:

  • 4-5 Sets of upright rows with a barbell (really a shoulder movement that hits the traps)
  • 4-5 Sets of deadlifts (this exercise is the reason football platers have huge traps)
  • 3 Sets of T-Bar Rows (really a back movement that hits the muscle and great to do!)

barbell shrugs

Traps are a large muscle. In order to hit it, your elbows must finish the movement at the level of your torso.

Let me explain what I mean.

If you are doing a barbell rows and your bar is hitting your lower belly, you will hit mainly your mid back.

  • However, if the bar hits your chest, it will target most of your trap muscle.

In order to target the upper portion of the muscle during the workout, you should do standing upright rows.

Don’t get me wrong, you can throw shrugs in there, but they are not the reason anyone has big trap muscles.

Keep in mind that genetics play a huge role here, just like they do with any other muscle group.

If you see a big football player, there is a chance they already had this muscle developed just from genetics.

big traps

When And How Often Should Traps Be Worked Out?

When your traps should be worked out depends on your genetics greatly.

  • But I will tell you that more is better. I would do them at least 4 times a week.

That said, you need to keep your sets to 6-8 per session. You can’t do 20 sets per day or you will see zero muscle growth.

You have to do lower volume and higher frequency for the best results. 

“That crap you have read in the fitness magazines and online about doing one muscle group once a week, is garbage advice.”

What most bodybuilders are missing on stage, from the back development standpoint, is the middle part of their back.

shrugging dumbbells

  • If you are one of the guys that are naturally wide and have dominant lats but lack density, you should focus on improving that area.

How Do I Get Thick Traps?

You can get thick traps by training your traps first in your back workout rather than lats.

  • Training lats first is the traditional approach to back training, but I want you to think outside of the box!

Isn’t it logical that if you want to improve your traps, you should train them first?

At the beginning of your workout while you are full of energy, is when you should attack muscle groups you are looking to improve.

Why do so many people skip doing abs? Because they save them for the end of the workout.

  • By that time they are drained of energy and just skip them.

big traps workout

Start the workout with a rowing variation, ideally with the chest supported hammer row machine.

If you don’t have this  machine in your gym, start with cable rows on a low pulley machine.

You can do this exercise with a neutral grip or even better, with a wide grip using a bar.

  • That will really target your traps.

Do Deadlifts Build Big Traps?

They are massive trap builders for sure!

You would really be missing a lot if you don’t do any deadlift variation.

It doesn’t have to be regular deadlift from the floor, you can also do rack pulls!

rack pulls

  • You can also do smith machine pulls, or simply try lowering the bar only to your knee level.

By doing a rowing variation first, you will pre-exhaust your traps and your upper back.

This exercise will certainly grant you the largest amount of trap gains!

  • Scapula retraction exercises are great, and they have their place in your back training routine.

Deadlifts on the other hand, are the ultimate trapezius builder.

The third exercise can be another upper back movement.

More On Why Shrugs Are Not The Best Trap Builder

Most people believe that shrugs are the best way to grow your traps, but this is simply not true.

shoulder workout

  • I am sure you have seen people in the gym with a thousand pounds on the bar, with wrist wraps probably, moving their heads an inch forward and backward.

That super bad form straight bar shrug movement does absolutely nothing for that person, aside from risk injury.

In order to get big traps, shrugging is fine, if done properly only as a part of your routine.

If you want to get those big, thick, hulk-like trap muscles, you have to do the exercises that I mentioned previously.

Should I Train Traps With Shoulders Or Back?

Traps are placed on your back, but many people choose to include them into their shoulder routine. Why is that?

deadlifting gif

Your back is your second largest muscle group after your legs. Because of that fact, and that it’s also out of your sight, it’s hard to target specific muscle groups.

It also requires a huge variety of exercises, simply because there are many different kinds of muscles on it.

  • In the middle and lower part of your back, you have lat muscles. On the middle and upper part, you have your trap muscles.

There are also rhomboids and rear deltoids.

All these different muscles require exercises in different angles in order to stimulate their growth.

It all comes down to what you want to focus the most.

  • Traps are a big muscle, and you can’t target it with only one exercise. You will have to target the middle, the lower and the upper part of your traps separately.

I Can’t Grow My Traps! WHY?

After doing a bunch of exercises for your back, you simply don’t have the energy or desire to do your trap workout!

tired in gym

As exhausted as you are, even if you haven’t planned it, you will probably leave it for another day, and that is probably going be your shoulder day.

  • When shoulder day comes, you will probably skip it on that day as well! Traps are just not fun to do, and they are hard to work out as well.

That is exactly why not many people have them. The other major reason is genetics.

Should You Train Traps?

Let me answer this question by asking you another question.

Do you want bigger traps?

If your answer is yes, then by all means, train them directly as hard as you can.

  • The only way the muscle will grow, is if you stress it to the point where it has to respond and grow.

traps workout

Some people will grow huge traps without any direct trap work, but those people are genetically gifted.

If you are one of them, then you don’t really have to train them.

  • If your answer is no, you don’t want bigger traps, than leave them alone.

“You can have an amazing physique without this muscle, that is for sure. You will never win a bodybuilding competition, but who cares about that.”

You don’t want your neck to be invisible.

For example, Dave Bautista, former American wrestler and currently a Hollywood actor, needs to have big traps.

He is not a competitive bodybuilder, he simply needs this muscle to be huge for his movie roles.

  • His massive trap muscles are certainly gonna adhere to a powerful and scary looking physique.

Do Squats Build Traps?

Back squats are going to use a lot of trap muscles to stabilize the bar that is sitting on your back.

squatting meme

  • In that regard, doing squats can definitely grow your trap muscles if you are going heavy.

And please keep in mind, going heavy only means a weight that you can do about 10 times before failure.

Everyone always thinks you have to have 500 lbs on the bar.

Front Squats Are Better For Traps

When you place your arms in front of your body, and you place the bar on your shoulders, it’s your traps that are holding the bar!

If you have just started doing front squats, you probably won’t get a  lot of trap growth because of your form.

  • Your mind muscle connection needs to be there when you are doing any exercise in order to be effective.

Front squats are a little bit advanced for even people that have been lifting weights for years.

They take a lot of balance, concentration and strength.

front squats

Are Deadlifts Enough For Traps?

Deadlifts are arguably the best exercise for growing massive traps, but it’s probably not enough.

Traps are a huge muscle, they go across the whole upper and middle part of your back.

To target it all, you will need different angles.

  • Deadlifts are going to build the biggest part of your traps. There will also be that upper portion that is visible from the front that could use some extra work.

To answer the question fully, you can definitely get massive traps just by doing deadlifts.

Just go up to anybody in the gym (that you don’t think is on steroids) and ask them what they do for their traps.

Traps Workout Conclusion

You have to come to terms that there is no magic answer for you to get big traps!

There are obviously exercises that are better than others, but that does not mean you will get jacked traps!

You have to eat your protein, and also hit the weights for a long time. There is no easy way, or magic exercise.


  • Consistency over time with proper diet is the answer to increasing every single body part.

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