The traps may be one of the most overlooked components of a bodybuilder's physique, but by no means, are they of less importance. Without development in these muscles, the territory between your neck and shoulders will be nothing more than flat, barren terrain.
Trap exercises can develop both your trapezius muscles and your shoulders to give you an impressive strongly built appearance. Good well-developed traps are the sign of strength and power. The problem can be finding the right trap exercises to build large, strong and muscular trapezius muscles. Usually if someone has well-developed traps they will also have outstanding over-all physique development.
When performing any exercises you need to observe proper lifting form and technique on every rep and set of all trapezius exercises. When using any trapezius exercises the form and technique you use will help to prevent injuries and will permit the greatest recruitment of muscle fibers.
This exercise is excellent for working the traps. Secondary stress is placed on the forearms from gripping the weights.
Grip a barbell shoulder width apart. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the barbell at arms length in front of you.
Keep your arms straight during the entire movement. Sag your shoulders downward as far as you can. You will feel your traps stretch; hold this position for a second. Shrug your shoulders upward and squeeze your traps at the top. Hold this position for a second. Repeat.
Tip - for variety you can do this exercise from a low cable pulley or use a pair of dumbbells instead of a barbell.
This is a good exercise for working the muscles of your shoulder girdle. Primary muscles are the traps and the deltoids. Secondary muscles are the biceps, brachialis, and the forearms.
Grip a barbell a little narrower then shoulder width. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the barbell at arm's length in front of you.
Keep your elbows above your hands at all times. Pull the barbell directly up from the starting position until the bar is just below your chin. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction, and then slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat.
Bent Lateral Raises
This exercise works the rear (posterior) deltoids and the middle traps. Secondary stress is applied to the forearms.
Grab 2 light dumbbells. Bend over at the waist with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep a slight bend in the knees to prevent stain on the lower back. Hold the dumbbells at arm's length in front of you with the palms of your hands facing each other. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
Using your upper back strength, slowly raise the dumbbells to the back and upwards in a semicircular arc as far as you can. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the rear deltoids. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat.
Tip - to really isolate your deltoids you can do this exercise lying face down on a high exercise bench. This will eliminate any body motion.
For exercises such as this you will need a barbell. From a standing position press the bar over your head just as if you were doing a barbell shoulder press.
Keep your knees slightly bent your body tight and your arms as straight as you can. From this position shrug your shoulders upward. Then slowly bring your shoulders back down while keeping your arms straight. Repeat.
Trap exercises like this take a little while to get used to but it's worth it.
Trap exercises like the overhead shrug aren't the best for building size in your trapezius muscles but it's excellent for building strength in your trapezius muscles and improving your trapezius power when using other trapezius exercises for mass building.
Tip - Overhead shrug trapezius exercises should be one of the first trap exercises you perform in your trapezius exercises program.