Trap Exercises - Some Great Trapezius Exercises

Published: 16th April 2009
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When they're well developed, the upper traps are cool looking muscles. Bodybuilders, pro wrestlers, football players - a lot of them have that "no neck" appearance due to the development of their upper traps. They really give you that strong, "don't mess with me" look that a lot of guys are going for.

But other than making you look like a "bad ass", well developed traps actually benefit you in a lot of other ways - especially if you play sports. One of these notable benefits is the fact that well developed traps help protect the brachial plexus nerve that's fairly vulnerable for contact athletes.

The last thing you want is a nerve injury (not fun) and since well developed upper traps help to reduce the risk of sustaining one, that alone is enough reason to perform trap-specific exercises.

Trapezius Exercises

Now, to set the record straight, the trapezius is actually a very large muscle within the back. There's lower fibers, middle fibers and of course - what I'm referring too in this article - the upper fibers. The middle and lower fibers are recruited by performing all sorts of rowing and scapular depression exercises while the upper fibers are involved with shoulder elevation movements.

The best exercise to mimic the function of the upper traps is the shoulder shrug exercise. Upon first glance, shoulder shrugs seem extremely basic but truthfully, about 90 percent of the guys in the gym doing them are doing them wrong!

The first mistake is using too much weight. With the shrug exercise, it's tempting to load up the barbell or grab the heaviest set of dumbbells on the rack and go through the motion in hopes of impressing the on-looking ladies in the gym. It's tempting sure, but don't do it.

The upper traps consist of primarily fast twitch muscle fibers which means that they're best suited for strength rather than endurance - which explains why you'll quickly fatigue regardless of whether you're lifting 100lb dumbbells or 50lb dumbbells.

You need to lift heavy to get them to respond but you can't sacrifice your form in order to lift more weight than you can handle. The key to performing the shoulder shrug exercise is to first focus on a spot on the wall to keep your head facing forward. In other words, don't look up and don't look down - look straight forward!

As you elevate your shoulders, you also want to draw your shoulders back in a controlled motion. This little technique will give you a better muscular contraction.

Here's a video demonstration showing how to properly perform the shrug exercise..

Shrug Exercise Demonstration

Related Article = Pectoral Exercises


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