Traps, the muscles that attach to your neck and lead down to your
shoulders and collar bones, are one of the most popular muscles to
develop for aspiring bodybuiders. It's no wonder. Thickly developed
traps which slope steeply down from under the ears to the shoulders
make people look like they are from another planet. How do you get
those super-thick mountain slopes?
Let me start by stating that it often takes several years of intense
w eight training. Some people are born with thick traps, and for the
rest of us it requires years of hard work. Of course, there is no
better time to get started than the present. Right?
Your traps can be worked with your back workout or with shoulders
for optimal growth. I've trained them with both and known many
successful bodybuilders who have done the same. I prefer to train
them with shoulders. The main reason is because I do more sets for
my back workouts than shoulders and it helps keep the total sets
for that bodypart down a bit.
Trap training really isn't that complex. If you hit them after
back or shoulders, they will be quite fatigued (pre-exhausted).
You won't need to do too many sets. I usually do just 4 sets per
workout. My rep range usually stays between 8-15. The key is the
performance and selection of the exercise.
I often use barbell shrugs for my trap workouts. Sometimes I will
spice things up a bit by doing dumbbell shrugs or smith machine
shrugs. However, I do prefer the old fashioned barbell. I seem to
get the best pump, burn, and overall best results from these.
When performing the exercise, regardless of which I choose, I am
methodical. I start with my arms hanging down at my sides, slightly
wider than shoulder width and in front of me so I can let the bar
be positioned across the front of my upper thigs. I make sure I
select a w eight that will allow me to raise the bar with my traps
as high as possible and hold it there for a slight pause before
lower the bar back down to the beginning point. The biggest mistake
I see novices making is that they try to use too much w eight.
Shrugs are an exercise where you can use tons of w eight by
loosening your form. The problem is that you don't end up working
the traps and no substantial growth for the muscle group will occur.
I will leave you with some suggestions if you aren't getting the
results you want from your trap workouts. First, train them very
slowly with a pause at the top of the rep. Exaggerate the length
of the movement. Second, cut the w eight you are using in half.
You always want to try and go heavier, but never by sacrificing
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