Do you want to get big traps and be like Tom Hardy? (But bear in mind that Tom Hardy is probably a steroid user.) Then you need to work hard. There are many effective trap workouts. Below you will tell you about dumbbell and home exercises for that group of muscles.
Best Trap Workout – Main Principles
Muscles of the trapezius are located on the back and are divided into 3 functionally independent areas, namely the top, middle, and lower part of the trapezius. Therefore, each trap zone should be trained purposefully / separately (if possible). The middle of the trapezius is trained when doing inclined rows (all varieties) as a part of back training. The lower part of the trapezius is trained when you lift the weight over your head (when performing shoulder presses). The upper part of traps is trained with shrugs. There are a whole family of shrugs: with a barbell and dumbbells; front, side, and back varieties, etc.
There are some principles of the best trap workout.
- Traps should be trained either on a single day or on the day of training the back or deltoid muscles (the so-called back and traps day).
- The training program should be intensive and take into account the main factors of muscle growth.
- The training should include a pair of basic exercises and a couple of isolation exercises. Basic exercises should be executed with a large working weight and an average number of repetitions, while isolation ones should be performed with a small weight, a large number of repetitions and perfect technique.
- The optimal frequency of trap workouts for mass is once a week.
- The total duration of the workout routine should be no more than 6 weeks, after which it is recommended to rearrange it.
Traps Muscle Workouts for Mass – Extra Tips
Here some extra tips for your traps muscle workout:
- Basic exercises with heavy weights. Do not forget to execute multi-joint exercises with heavy weights (on a regular basis). Also, do not forget about the principle of progressive overload. You should gradually increase working weight in multi-joint exercises.
- Isolation exercises. The basis of your training should be multi-joint exercises with heavy weights, but this does not mean that you should give up isolated exercises. Isolation exercises are an excellent way to diversify the training process, to prevent the adaptation of muscles and to put them under stress. Isolation exercises in your training program will help you build up lean muscle mass.
- Sleep (Rest). Issues of sleep and recovery are no less important than the issues of training and nutrition. To build up lean muscle mass, a healthy sleep lasting 7-8 hours is necessary. Thank to that the body can fully recover after training. Lack of sleep not only impedes the recovery of the body and adversely affects the growth of muscle mass, but also stimulates the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite. As a result, you may eat a lot, increasing your fat mass.
- Sports supplements. Sports supplements like protein, BCAA and Tribulus Terrestris can help you in the process of building up lean muscle mass, although they are just a supplement to diet, nutrition and exercise. Creatine and beta-alanine will help you increase strength and endurance. Also, it is advisable to use athletic supplements that affect the sensitivity of cells to insulin, for example, alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, and cinnamon extract.
- Do not hurry. The buildup of lean muscle mass is a long and time-consuming process, during which you have to fight for every pound of muscle. Therefore, do not rush, since the buildup of one pound of lean muscle mass can take 2-3 months.
Dumbbell Trap Workout Exercises
How to workout traps with dumbbells? Here’s what you can do.
- Upright row. This exercise separates the muscles of trapezius from deltas. It provides the emphasis is on the middle delts, as well as on the top and middle of the traps. Take the barbell and stand straight. The wider the grip, the more load goes to the deltas. The narrower the grip, the more the trapezius contracts. In the starting position, the back should be straightened and slightly bent in the lower back, arms should be straightened at the elbows, and the bar should touch the hips. Contract the muscles of the neck and trapezius, then keeping the elbows in parallel to the torso, pull the bar vertically upwards. The bar should slide along the body from the hips to the chin. At the top, the elbows should be above the shoulders. Then smoothly lower the rod to its original position. The pace of exercise should be slow and without jerks. The main rule: the elbows should always look to the sides and climb vertically, strictly in the plane of the torso. This requires a moderate weight on the bar, so you can control it.
- Dumbbell Shrug. This dumbbell trap workout exercise targets the upper and middle trapezius. Shrugs with dumbbells (in comparison with a barbell, but not with a trap bar) allow to load the trapezius much deeper. Stand straight and take heavy dumbbells in both hands. They should hang freely on straight arms at the sides of the thighs. Put them forward a little and take your shoulders back. Breathe in, and lift the shoulders as high as possible, contracting the trapezius. Raise your shoulders strictly upwards, do not bend your arms in the elbows. Raise them solely by the effort of the trapezius. Raising the shoulders as much as possible upwards, contract the trapezius for a couple of seconds. Gently lower your shoulders to the starting position. The higher you lift the shoulders, the more the upper muscles of the trapezius and the muscles that lift the scapula contract, which will lead to muscle mass gaining. Use heavy weights, but do not break the proper amplitude. Do not rotate your shoulders and do not lift them diagonally. It may be dangerous and lead to injuries.
Traps Workout at Home
Of course, it is better to train the traps in the gym, since this muscle group loves great weights. But this does not mean that you will not be able to give them proper load at home. Below are some exercises for your traps workout at home:
- Aeroplane / Superman Extensions. The exercise targets the trapezius with an emphasis on the middle and lower parts. The load can be changed by changing the position of the hands. With the direction of the hands in front of you, the load is received by the middle and upper traps to a greater extent. When the arms are directed perpendicular to the body, the middle of the trapezius is most involved. If the hands are pulled back, the accent will shift to the lower part. When performing the exercise, squeeze the blades. Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Torso Elevated Push-Up. This is an effective bodyweight exercise for the lower part of the trapezoid muscle. Keep your back straight when executing it. The legs can be slightly bent at the knees. The arms should work as in the case of ordinary push-ups. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
- Resistance Band Shrugs. The exercise works best on the top of the trapezius. To begin with, stand in the starting position shoulders width apart. Then pull the shoulder girdle upward, you should try to pull your shoulders as close as possible to your ears. When doing the exercise, keep your back straight, do not tilt your head down. Also, avoid shoulders’ rotation, as some gym rats do. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
- Resistance Band Reverse Fly. This calisthenics exercise loads the traps with an emphasis on the middle trap. Be sure to squeeze the shoulder blades while performing the movement. Do 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps. You might be interested in female calisthenics chest workout with resistance band.
- Resistance Band Shoulder Press. The main load falls on the shoulders. But the trapezoids grow together with other muscles. In this case, a portion of the load will be received by the lower trapezius. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.