Thick, muscular traps are a key component of a complete and well-developed physique.

Muscular traps and shoulders will give you that wide, powerful look that all bodybuilders strive for and will make a huge difference to your overall appearance.

What are the best trap exercises for adding overall mass?

Here are the 3 main lifts you should be focusing on…

#1: Deadlifts

Although most people think of the deadlift as a general leg and back exercise, it’s actually the most effective lift out there for adding overall size and thickness to your traps. Just take a look at any serious powerlifter’s trap development and you’ll quickly see this for yourself.

Deadlifts allow you to handle large amounts of resistance and place a significant stretch on the traps and the other muscles of the upper back. Even though you may not feel your traps noticeably working throughout the lift, they’re actually being hammered extremely hard on every rep.

Stick to a basic barbell deadlift and perform 2-4 sets of 5-7 reps as part of your back workout.

#2: Shrugs

Shrugs are a smaller isolation lift that allow you to specifically target the traps with minimal involvement from surrounding muscles.

Shrugs can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells, smith machine or even cables.

Focus on performing this exercise with a full range of motion by raising your shoulders up as high as possible, pausing briefly at the top, and lowering them all the way back down as far as you comfortably can.

When executed with proper form, your traps should be literally screaming by the end of your set.

Stick to a rep range of about 8-10 and perform 2-3 total sets.

#3: Face Pulls

Face pulls are a less common exercise that you’ll see at the gym but are one of the best trap exercises out there. They also hit your rear delts, rhomboids and other smaller upper back muscles as well.

Most bodybuilders tend to have over-developed front delts and pecs due to an over-emphasis on pressing movements, and over time this can lead to injury by pushing the shoulder capsule out of place.

Face pulls are not only an awesome trap building exercise, but they also kill two birds with one stone by directly counteracting this imbalance to help prevent shoulder injuries.

A face pull is basically a row that is performed to your face using a rope attachment. Perform this exercise using a moderate amount of weight under strict control, and utilize a rep range of 8 to 10 for 2-3 sets.

The 3 Best Trap Exercises: Quick Review

For complete, well-rounded trap development, stick with a basic barbell deadlift, shrugging exercise and face pull.

These are the 3 best trap exercises you can perform and will hit your upper back from a variety of angles for overall size and strength gains.

These lifts can be added to your back workout or can be performed on a dedicated shoulder and trap day.

– Sean

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