Cool Traps Routine

traps building routine

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I've always enjoyed training my trapezius muscles. I simply like the feeling my upper shoulders get when my traps are pumped. Personally, when my traps get pumped, it seems like my whole upper torso gets pumped.

Lately, I've been messing around with various exercises to see how well my traps respond. I've found a cool exercise combination that has been inflating my traps to impressive size. It's nothing fancy but for me, it works. Who knows, maybe this combination can help add some size to your traps.

The Routine

Exercise 1: Barbell shrugs super set with front straight arm plate lifts: 4 x 12 repetitions each

Exercise 2: Down the rack dumbbell shrugs 2 sets

That's it. However, don't be fooled because this is a very tough trap workout. The first exercise is simply a super set between barbell shrugs and straight arm plate lifts. I'm sure most of you are familiar with barbell shrugs.

Straight arm plate lifts is a front shoulder exercise (I always train traps after my shoulders). While standing, simply pick up a weight plate (I use a 35 pounder) and hold the sides of the plate, resting it on your front thighs. Your arms should be slightly bent. Using your two arms, lift the weight up to eye level and slowly lower it back down. Repeat for 12 repetitions. Don't jerk the weight up and perform this exercise nice and slow.

First, perform a set of 12 with the barbell shrug and with no rest, perform another set of 12 with the front straight arm plate lift. Rest for about 30 seconds and repeat for another 3 more sets of 12.

Rest for about one minute before performing the second exercise.

The second exercise is down the rack dumbbell shrugs. Here's how your going to do this exercise:

Pick a heavy pair of dumbbells and perform 10 repetitions;

  • Pick a pair of dumbbells which are 20 pounds lighter and do another 10 repetitions;
  • Pick a pair of dumbbells which are 20 pounds lighter and do another 10 repetitions;
  • Pick a pair of dumbbells and perform 12 to 15 repetitions

Repeat for one more set.

Here's the progression I use:

  • Set one: 90 pound dumbbells;
  • Set two: 70 pounds dumbbells;
  • Set three: 50 pound dumbbells;
  • Set four 30 pound dumbbells.

There is no rest. This is why this exercise is called “down the rack” - You go down the rack from one set of dumbbells to the next, with no rest in between. Perform 2 sets of down the racks, resting about 1 minute in between sets.

By the time your done this routine, your traps should be screaming an pumped like your have a pair of balloons on top of your shoulders.

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Good luck and all the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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