Most people seem to be of the opinion that the trapezius muscle is located along the upper back, covering the scapula.
This is true, but that is only part of the trapezius muscle, there is an upper, middle, and lower part – it’s just that the middle and lower parts are not visible.
In terms of muscle size your traps are as big as your chest muscles, and just as important for overall strength and size. But do you know anyone who trains their traps as much as their chest? What about anyone who trains them more?
According to Testosterone Nation  you really should be training your trapezius muscles as much as your chest, if not more.
Due to the muscles being mostly made up of slow twitch muscle fibres it would make sense to go high volume. Lots of sets and reps!
Of course, when training for hypertrophy it is best to train across different rep ranges. So don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Best Exercises For Huge Traps
The obvious exercise to build massive traps is the shrug, there are a couple of variations: you’ve got the barbell shrug which holds a bar in front of your legs, while the dumbbell version holds the weights using a neutral grip by your side.
For beginner lifters the dumbbell version is definitely superior, but for stronger lifters the barbell might be better as you can place heavier weights on the bar.
Form is so important here, try to remove all momentum, use a full range of motion (bringing your shoulders towards your ears) and try to avoid using jerky motions.
Remember the goal is to go high rep, so choose a weight where you can perform each rep with great form.
Another good exercise choice would be the upright row. For some reason, this exercise has become known as a high risk exercise that should be avoided – but the truth is that when performed correctly an upright row is perfectly safe.
Small changes such as using dumbbells instead of a bar, can reduce the risk further.
Making sure not to pull the dumbbells too high is another tip.
Performing a face pull using a cable rope attachment is an excellent trap builder, particularly if you lower the height slightly (compared to the traditional exercise). Use a medium to light weight and try to prevent yourself from rocking back and forth whilst pulling the rope towards you.
You don’t always have to be targeting the traps specifically to get a good workout for them, a lot of upper back exercises can utilise the traps as a secondary muscle.
Barbell bent over rows, single arm dumbbell rows, T-Bar rows, and pendlay rows are really good for engaging the traps.
Deadlifts are another exercise that will work them (as you need them to maintain proper posture while lifting). Pull ups can also strengthen traps so don’t forget to add them into your routine as well.
Ultimate Trap Workout
In this section we will create a trap workout for you to follow, using all of the exercises that we mentioned above.
This workout will be a back and trap workout, as so many of the exercises work both.
- Face Pulls: 3 x 12-15
- Inverted Row: 3 x 12
- Rack Pulls: 4 x 6
- Seated Low Row: 3 x 12
- Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 x 10 (each)
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 4 x 15
- Dumbbell Upright Rows: 3 x 12
As you are training for strength and hypertrophy rather than for fat burning purposes, you can have slightly longer rest periods between sets.
Try to aim for around 3 minutes rest, this will allow you to fully recover from the previous set and to train at a higher intensity in the next set.
Obviously smaller exercises such as the face pulls can use shorter rest periods. Time them all to prevent you from under/ overdoing it.
Training your traps is a great way to improve your posture, increase your upper body strength, improve your physique, and it can also improve certain exercises such as barbell squats.
You shouldn’t always be concentrating on mirror muscles such as the chest or lats, the less fashionable muscles need love and attention too!
Try to hit your traps at least twice per week, even if it’s just a couple of exercises max. You can train them as part of a shoulder workout, part of a back workout, an upper body workout, or a full body workout. Just find the one that suits your current training program best.
Deadlifts, and rack pulls are excellent exercises in their own right, and they will also help strengthen your traps, so add them in too.
Just try and be as consistent as possible and pay attention to your form throughout, you’ll be shocked at how improved your back will look once you start dedicating time on your traps.