Nothing says power like a big set of traps and a thick neck. Think about it. When you’re out somewhere and you see a guy with massive traps and huge neck you automatically know he’s the last guy in the joint that you’d ever want to mess with.
Maybe he’s an ex wrestler. Maybe he competes in MMA. Or maybe he played football. You don’t know but you definitely don’t want to find out.
No other muscle groups instill fear in and command respect from all those around you like the traps and neck do.
Plenty of pumped up pretty boys walk around with decent sized arms and zero back development. An equal amount of guys have built up a pretty good sized chest since it’s the only muscle they ever train. But big arms and a big set of pecs do nothing to command respect.
If you really want to look powerful, athletic and intimidating you need to develop the traps and neck.
When it comes to achieving the power look the first exercise you need to be concerned with is the deadlift. The deadlift packs size on the traps like nothing else. You are going to want to deadlift once per week and the heaviest weights you can handle with perfect form. Don’t be afraid to use straps if your grip is weak.
Next on the list come Olympic lifting variations such as snatches, cleans, high pulls, and shrug pulls. These Olympic lifts build up huge traps and can be done more frequently than deadlifts. If you are really trying to build up the traps rapidly I recommend that you do some sort of Olympic lift variation at least twice per week, if not three times for 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps.
Another great trap building exercise is the shrug. Shrugs can be done with barbells or dumbbells and with heavy weight for low reps and a partial range of motion or lighter reps for high reps with a full range of motion. I recommend that you use both approaches for full trap development once or twice a week after your deadlifts or Olympic lifts. On one of your shrug days you may also want to hold an isometric contraction at the top for 2-3 seconds on each rep.
With the traps taken care of you need to move on to your neck. You simply can’t beat an old school neck harness with a plate attached to it for neck development. Other great neck exercises are manual resistance flexion and extension exercises with a partner or isometric supports against a stability ball or Airex pad. To do the partner resisted exercises simply lie down on a flat bench with your head hanging off and have a partner drape a towel over your head and provide resistance as you move up and down. Be sure not to use extreme ranges of motion on neck work or you could put yourself at risk for injury.
The neck should be trained two or three days per week for 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps.
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