How to build the traps: Exercises for the trapezius muscles

The trapezius is one of the largest muscles. It bears the main load during weightlifting. The trapezius is located in the upper back, covering the back neck part. Its volume demonstrates the intensity of weightlifting exercises.

Efficient building of the trapezius muscles allows for significant neck enlargement. If you don’t build the pectoral girdle muscles, you risk getting a disproportionate shape. You will have a large neck and wide shoulders.

So the trapezius should be built with other muscles. All professionals recommend doing this.

Back muscle anatomy

Why was the trapezius named so? It can be represented as two triangles with adjacent bases. The spine is located between them. The trapezius partially covers the cervical spine, the shoulders, and the back between the shoulder  blades, as well as the area under them. It looks like a trapezium.

It can be divided into three parts:

  • upper (including the neck);
  • Middle (upper shoulder blade area);
  • Lower (area between the shoulder blades and under them).

The trapezius provides the following movements:

  • shoulder blades raised and lowered, bringing them together;
  • shoulder and arm raising and lowering;
  • Arm and neck rotation

How to build trapezius

Many sportsmen are unaware of this. Many of them pay little attention to the trapezius, underestimating them. If you don’t build this part of the body, it will be weak, and your shape will become disproportionate.

Trapezius exercises should always be included in the exercise program.

The upper trapezius can be kept in excellent shape by doing “shrugs.” This means shoulder raising and lowering with or without weights.

The middle trapezius area is built with weightlifting exercises.

The lower area is built with pectoral girdle exercises and lifting apparatuses above your head.

These exercises allow for the following results:

  • No cavities in the neck and shoulder area;
  • Neck enlargement;
  • Neck muscle endurance

Exercised muscles are handy in any kind of sport.

The trapezius is successfully built with complex exercises. However, there are some special techniques for the trapezius. They are described below.

shrugs with dumbbells

Trapezius exercises can be done without weights. But to make them more efficient, use different apparatuses.

Dumbbell exercises involve the following movements:

  1. Back straight, hold in your belly, shoulders inclined back.
  2. Take the dumbbells.
  3. Raise your shoulders as high as possible and stay for a few seconds in this position. Keep your back straight. Initially, the dumbbell weight should not exceed 2kg.
  4. Lower your shoulders.

Do up to 10 repetitions. 2-3 sets are recommended.

shrugs with a barbell

During exercise, move vertically, only raising and lowering your shoulders. Other parts of the body, including your arms, should be straight and tense. Never turn your head during this exercise. It should not move. Don’t use a wide grip or do jerks.

Kettlebell row

This trapezius exercise involves the following movements:

  1. Stand wider than shoulder width apart and grab the kettlebell with both hands.
  2. Bend your knees and slightly incline forward. Keep your back straight.
  3. Tensing your abs Straighten slowly and lift the kettlebell to knee level. Stay in this position for a few seconds and return to the initial position.

Exercising the middle trapezius part on an inclined bench

If you do this exercise with dumbbells while keeping your body on the incline bench, the number of repetitions can be reduced as your back is the most loaded part in this case.

Lie on the bench, facedown, and fix your head. Slightly bend your knees. Initially, it is not recommended to lift dumbbells heavier than 2kg. Lift and lower the dumbbells, keeping your trapezius tense.

P-bars or chin-up bar

The most widely-used apparatus These exercises are excellent for building the lower trapezius. Firstly, hang on with straight arms. Lift your body as high as possible, bringing your shoulder blades together.

Chest chin-ups allow for good results. This allows building the middle and upper trapezius. Keep your bulk in the upper position for 8s.


It allows building the muscles of the upper areas of your back, neck, and shoulders. This exercise is excellent for stretching after the main workout.

Lie face down with shoulders width apart, straight arms upwards, and slightly sideways. Palms facing each other. Raise your hands, head, and chest over the floor so that you can feel your spine stretching. Tensing your abs This allows building all muscles. Then slowly lower on the floor.

It is important not only to know how to build trapezius muscles but also to follow some rules. Apparatuses allow for achieving good results.

They include dumbbells, a barbell, a chin-up bar, or P-bars. They make exercises more diverse and efficient as they distribute the load among all muscles.

If a beginner sportsman does not have the above-mentioned apparatuses, it would be difficult to build the back trapezius at home. So attend the gym and consult your coach to prevent injuries.

Those who are just beginning to master the set of exercises should visit the gym. With the guidance of a professional, a sportsman can obtain the required exercising skills without exceeding the allowable load.

Please note that the trapezius is involved in many exercises, so we don’t recommend increasing the number of sets.

There are the following requirements for exercises:

  • For beginner sportsmen, it is recommended to exercise twice or three times per week for no longer than an hour and gradually adapt to high loads;
  • Exercise regularly;
  • Rational nutrition is rather important.
  • Recover properly after exercise (a massage and warm shower are recommended);
  • Alternate trapezius exercises with different loading methods.

Those who wish to have an attractive muscular body should possess patience. For your trapezius to be decent and functional, it should be exercised on a regular basis.

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