Tip: The Missing Trap-Building Exercises

You need more than shrugs for big traps. Add one of these four movements to your list.

To build your traps, don't forget about the Olympic lifts and their variations.

That doesn't mean you have to go full bore and compete. It doesn't even mean you need to learn and perfect every single variation of the lifts. But adding a few athletic barbell movements into your program will light up the fast twitch fibers of the traps. Instead of only relying on shrug variations, use the following explosive exercises as staples for trap development:

Barbell Power Clean

Barbell Push Press

Barbell Power Snatch/Muscle Snatch

Barbell High Pull

The truth is, Olympic lifters' physiques speak volumes, especially where trap development is concerned. It makes sense to take a page out of their book and start performing lifts with a bit of an explosive edge rather than the slow, high TUT (time under tension) method you'd use with shrugs.

Sets and Reps

All of these movements should be focused on lower rep ranges – 5 or under. Feel free to up the volume by adding sets to perform a high number of loaded reps, cumulatively speaking. In this case, 8 sets of 3 is better than 3 sets of 8, and will probably be a better resistance against injury and keep the nervous system sharper for the duration of your workout.