Shrug Variations for Training Traps!
By Team iForce Nutrition
Ready to blast your traps into newfound growth? If you are like most people, your trap training has been the same for as long as you can remember, shrugs with a Barbell or dumbell. Try out these shrug variations to hit your traps from new angles and trigger growth exactly where you need it most! Also provided is a routine you can use that combines these new movements into one trap-blasting assault!
Bent Over Shrug
This can be performed with either a barbell, dumbells, or a smith machine. Assume the same position you would use for a Barbell Row, except take a closer grip. Keeping your arms extended using only your traps, pull the weight back by contracting your traps together in towards your spine. Unlike a traditional shrug, the trapezius is contracting back, not up toward the ears. This is great for adding density to the middle traps.
Wide Grip Shrugs
This movement is great for hitting the upper traps where it attaches at the neck. If you want to add some beef to your "most muscular" pose, this is the movement you have been looking for. Perform this movement standing up, with either a wide grip on a barbell, or using a nuetral grip bar attached to a low cable. The wide grip will put extra emphasis on the upper traps.
2 Handed Cable Shrugs
This movement is a great way to pump up your traps from a unique angle. Using the same cables you would use for a chest cable crossover, put the handles all the way at the bottom. Now take one handle in each of your hands so they should be extended completely and pointing down toward the pulley. Without bending your arms, pull up and back with the weight, squeezing your middle and upper traps. Using this technique is great because the 2 handed approach allows you to contract the traps further than you have likely ever experienced.
Dont stop there! Your cable station likely has various different heights you can set the handles at. Experiment with low, low/mid, mid heights and hit your traps from whichever angle you feel the most! Also, changing the angle allows you to focus the contraction on different parts of the traps from top to bottom.
Lying Incline Shrugs
To perform this exercise you will need to lie face down on an incline bench. In this position, grab a dumbell in each hand and contract the traps back toward the spine. This is another movement that allows for a lot of experimentation. Using various incline angles allows you to focus on the different parts of the traps; the higher the incline, the higher up you are hitting on your traps. If you want to focus on your lower traps, try laying parallel to the floor.
Putting it all together!
Most trainees do not have a day devoted to trap work, so I would suggest training traps with your shoulder workout or back workout. i would leave these for the end of your workout, as they do not require the use of accessory muscles like the biceps, triceps, shoulders, etc that other movements use. Perform each exercise with 8-12 reps, and 2-4 sets each. With these new exercises you can expect a great deal of thickness and density to your middle and upper back, and also great strength gains on movements like the Deadlift, which requires a tremendous amount of effort from the Upper Back.