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Top 3 Best Exercises for Traps

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

The traps are a large muscle group on your back, developing the traps is paramount for bodybuilding, and for improving strength, and even posture.

Three of the best exercise for the traps are as follows.

  1. Scapular Pull-Up

  2. Shrugs

  3. Upright Row

What Is the Traps Muscle?

Well, it is a large muscle group on the upper back and neck. Its job is to tilt and turn the head and neck, as well as shrug, steady the shoulders, and twist your arms.

The trapezius muscle can elevate, depress, rotate, and retract the scapula, which is also known as the shoulder blades.

The upper half of the muscle is primarily made up of type 2 fibres and the lower half of the trap muscle is made up of predominantly type 1 fibres.

You can read up on the traps fibre type composition here.

So why should you train the traps muscle?

Well firstly, the traps muscle is used as a stabiliser during many different exercises.

Secondly, a developed traps muscle can make your physique and body look much wider, bigger and more aesthetic.

Lastly, the stronger your traps are the stronger you will be on many different exercises.

1) Scapular Pull-Up

The scapular pull up is a unique and fairly unknown trap exercise.

However, it is a great traps exercise and will activate a lot of the fibres that the other traps exercises do not activate.

This exercise will need access to a pull up bar or similar piece of equipment though. It is also a fairly difficult exercise when compared to the standard go-to trap exercises.

If you want to try this exercise, read more about the scapular pull up. When attempting this exercise be extra careful not to injure yourself.

scapular pull up

2) Shrugs

Shrugs are likely one of the best overall exercises for building up the traps. This exercise will activate most of the trapezius musculature and fibres.

It is also a fairly simple and easy exercise to do. The equipment you need to complete this exercise can usually be found in every gym and can be purchased at home if need be.

The shrugs doesn’t need to be using just dumbbells, you can also do the shrug on machines, using cables or a barbell and there are many variations of the shrug, such as the hammer strength shrug.

> You can read more about the shrugs here.

shrugs exercise

3) Upright Row

The upright row is also a great trap exercise and is a fairly well known exercise too. This exercise will activate most, if not all of the traps muscle fibres.

However, it will also activate a lot of the deltoids muscle fibres and is also considered a good rear delt exercise.

This exercise is slightly more complex than other traps exercises and will need access to either a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells.

There are quite a few variations of the upright row, such as the kettlebell upright row, the incline upright row and more.

> You can read more about the upright row here.

upright row

Developing a balanced and strong body doesn't only look better, it also helps improve overall strength too. This is why it's important to train muscles such as the traps.


Written by Billy White

billy white

Billy White is a qualified Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer. He is an aspiring bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, and health and fitness researcher.

He has multiple years of experience within the fitness, bodybuilding and health space. He is committed to providing the highest-quality information.


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

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