New Exercises for Big Traps
Whether you're at the gym or training at home with limited equipment, these are the best, non-traditional exercises for building big traps. Use these moves along with your other trap-building lifts, or just swap out whatever has stopped working for you with these.
This is safer on your shoulders than a regular upright row. And since it hits your upper traps better, you'll feel them and get a better pump than you would with any other exercise. But you've got to do this move properly.
This exercise works best when you go a little lighter and really focus on your form. Squeeze your upper traps at the top of each rep. Do 3 to 4 sets of 15-30 reps.
Note: You're pulling the bar toward you at a roughly 45-degree angle instead of a vertical angle. This exercise is much safer on your shoulders than normal upright rows because you've got a wider grip that won't internally rotate your shoulders as much. Also, you're not driving your shoulders up in the same motion that makes impingement stress a risk on the shoulder tendons. (1,2)
Biceps always try to help out with upright rows? The wider grip reduces biceps brachii activity and increases trapezius activity. (3)
Unlike traditional pull-aparts, this version targets your upper traps instead of your rear-delts and mid-back. Pay close attention to the video. If you get it right, you're not going to believe the pump in your upper traps.
Use a fairly light band and concentrate on using your upper traps to drive your elbows upward while keeping your hands slightly turned downward. Do 2-4 sets of 20 to 40 reps.
Years ago, I saw coach Christian Thibaudeau demonstrating the Zercher shrug with a barbell. He talked about how they worked better than standard barbell shrugs. I've gotten similar feedback from my own clients and athletes.
I like doing them with an NT Loop even more. Aside from the ability to do them anywhere, you can do fast reps, which are the best way to get a pump.
I'm using NT Loops because they're the most comfortable, stable, and durable bands for your home and gym workouts. Do 2 to 4 sets of 40 to 60 reps as fast as possible.
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