4 Tips For Bigger Traps

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Road Warriors back in 1984. I was ten at the time and my friend Lance had slept over the night before.

We always watched WWF wrestling on Saturday mornings but on this day we happened to catch some AWA action on ESPN.

Iron Man by Black Sabbath played and the two most jacked up, badass looking mofo’s I’d ever seen, wearing face pain and spiked shoulder pads ran to the ring.

I didn’t even know what traps were called at the time but I knew that Hawk looked cool as hell with those muscles coming out of the sides of his neck that touched his ears.

A few weeks later I begged my mom to get me some Road Warriors action figures and asked if we could paint my Pop Warner shoulder pads black and put spikes on them so we could dress up as Animal and Hawk for Halloween.

Two or three years later I was finally old enough to start weight training and aside from the bench and curl routine that everyone did at the time I also added shrugs in there to try to get traps like Hawk.

Of course, it didn’t work and I got nowhere but you don’t have to waste as much time as I did. I’ve got you covered with these four quick trap-building tips.

1) Make Trap Bar Deads Your Primary Lower Body Exercise

First of all, if the squat is usually your primary compound lower body exercise, put it on the back burner for a bit and work in versions of trap bar deadlifts. You could go high handle, low handle and from a two inch deficit (if you have the mobility) as the main exercises in your rotation. Or you could use two deadlift variations and one squat. On the days you pull with the trap bar get some single leg work or do goblets, front squats for the full range quad focus.

The trap bar deadlift is very similar to the squat in the benefits you get but you kill two birds with one stone because you’re also loading your traps simultaneously.

2) Row at a Steeper Angle

Next, do a few of your rowing/ horizontal pulling/ back thickness exercises at a steeper angle. So if you do chest supported rows set the bench higher and if you do T-bar rows stand slightly more upright. This will bring more traps into play.

3) Do Snatch Grip High Pulls & Clean Variations

Thirdly, add in some snatch grip high pulls and clean variations. If cleans with a straight bar bother your wrist you can use a neutral or angled grip bar or do them with a log they do in the Worlds Strongest Man. If you don’t know where to put them just replace some chin up variations with these for a while. Therefore your back work will consist of deads, rows and pulls/cleans.

4) Finish With Farmers Walks

And lastly, add farmers walks as a finisher once or twice a week. These can be done with dedicated implements, a trap bar, dumbells or kettlebells.

Hit it hard for a few months and you’ll be ready for some face paint and spiked shoulder pads.