The 3 Missing Exercises for Big Traps

Get Yoked With These Untraditional Moves

Big Traps

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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