Top 3 Best Exercises For Traps [Full Guide & List]

Updated: Jan 31

So you’ve come for one thing.

You want to know the best trap exercises to build up your trapezius muscle mass.

Well you have come to the right place.

The Top 3 Best Traps Exercises:

  1. Scapular Pull-Up

  2. Shrugs

  3. Upright Row

We go into more detail about these exercises further down, however, we are going to explain what the traps muscle is and what it does.

Firstly, what is the trapezius 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.

It is made up from a mix of Type 1 & Type 2 muscle fibres.

However, the top portion is primarily made up of Type 2 fibres and the lower portion 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.

Number One: 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 careful not to injure yourself.

Number Two: 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.

You can read more about the shrugs here.

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.

Number Three: 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.

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