4 Best Exercises to Build Stronger and Bigger Traps

Every man desires a strong aesthetically pleasing physique to attract the most attention, be the most powerful looking, and that one alpha that no one dares to mess with.

That’s where the trapezius muscles come in. If you want all the above, here are the BEST 4 exercises to build stronger and bigger traps:

1.      Shrugs

2.      Deadlift + Shrug Combo (Using Trap Bar)

3.      Face Pulls

4.    Upright Rows


1. Shrugs

You’ve seen Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the gym, crushing it with all variations of the shrugs. You simply can’t exclude this exercise that pioneered on how the average Joe can build aesthetic traps.

If you want traps like The Rock, then you have to incorporate this exercise into your routine.

Shrugs target your upper and middle traps, and they aid in building size, stamina, and power.  There are numerous ways shrugs can be executed. Pick up two dumbbells, stack some weight on each side of a barbell, or head over to a machine and grab some cables.

The best time to do shrugs is at the end of your workout. Nothing too crazy, nothing too intense.

Simply choose a weight you are comfortable doing for 12-15 reps, and at the end of your last rep (whether it is 12 or 15), hold your position for 5 seconds to really activate the muscle fibers in your traps to receive the ultimate burn that you’ve been craving.

For example, you’re on the 15th rep and as you complete it, you maintain the position (shoulder to ear) and hold it for 5 seconds. Bang out these for 4 sets 12-15 reps with a 5 second hold for each set.


2. Deadlift + Shrug Combo (Using Trap Bar)

Everyone knows about the deadlift. Some love it. Some hate it. If you want big traps, it won’t matter whether you love/hate it, you just have to do it.

If you’re looking for a challenge, then this combination will give you exactly what you need. This compound exercise is in need of your back, legs, forearms, and core. Every muscle must be engaged.

We’re using a Trap Bar, but if your gym doesn’t have one, a regular barbell will still do the trick.

This will target your entire back, but we’re implementing the Shrug at the very end of each rep to really maximize hypertrophy, and target all three parts of the trapezius muscle.

HOW TO: Stand in between the Trap Bar (or barbell), position yourself with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward, head looking straight ahead, and keeping your lower back arched (sticking your butt out helps a lot with this).  Lift the bar and complete the deadlift and as this is being completed, you finish off with a shrug.

The reps are completed AFTER the shrug has been executed. Place the barbell back in its initial position, and repeat.

Aim for 3 sets for 8-10 reps.

3. Face Pulls

Face Pulls are an underrated exercise, but highly effective in building strong, bigger traps. This exercise alone bolsters your traps, rear deltoids (back part of your shoulders), and fixes forward lean postures.

The equipment you will need is a rope that should be attached to a machine, adjusting it to a position that is parallel to, yup you guessed it, your face.

It’s critical to position yourself with your feet shoulder width apart, and using a weight that will allow you to maintain your position without the weight actually pulling you forward (not fun).

Check your ego at the door if you want to utilize this exercise in your routine, and most importantly, prevent injury and get the most out of this workout.

Just like the cable shrug, we will be holding our position for 5 seconds at the end of each set, for the last rep.

HOW TO: Holding the rope with your thumbs over the handles, pull the rope until your hands are next to your ears, allowing maximum engagement for your traps and rear delts. Remember to hold each rep for 5 seconds.

Aim for 3 sets for 6-8 reps.




4. Upright Rows

If you struggle with shoulder pain or have past injuries/surgeries, this may be an exercise you want to avoid. Please consult your primary care provider or seek professional advice on whether or not this exercise is ideal to include in your routine. It’s best to be patient, and informed then to be out of the gym for months.

Now, this exercise is very advantageous when done correctly. Your anterior + rear deltoids and traps will thank you for feeding them with this challenging, yet rewarding exercise. The equipment you need are really up to your personal preference. Both barbells and dumbbells work effectively that will provide you with supercharged, nasty pump.

HOW TO: If you are using a barbell, place your hands on the barbell shoulder width apart. The following information will matter whether you are using a barbell or dumbbell: Before you begin, place your feet shoulder width apart, slightly lean forward (do not stand up straight), and lift the weight with your elbows, not your hands. Stop when your hands have reached your chest, keeping your elbows parallel to your hands. This is important to prevent injury, but also maintaining the tension on your shoulders and traps.

Using light weight and high reps is highly recommended. Aim for 3 sets for 15-20 reps.


You got what you need! 4 Best Trap Exercises to really build an aesthetic physique. Now, take action!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE EXERCISE TO TRAINS YOUR TRAPS? Let us know in the comments down below.

Questions? Let’s talk! Leave them below.

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