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5 Effective Shrugs for Jacked Traps

Your traps are high profile muscles and just adding an inch takes a hell lot of work, but the results sure are rewarding. Building towering thick trapezii gives you a unique look of strength and dominance. As a matter of fact, people would be more mesmerized by big traps rather than arms. And we all have been wanting to grow a big ole jacked pair of them.



Shrugs for Bigger Traps

You’ll learn how to build symmetry for well-sculpted traps and how to effectively target the muscle fibers for optimal growth. Though the exercises are common and no rocket science-based knowledge is needed, you need to guts to perform these exercises.

1. Barbell Shrug

I’d love to kickstart with the barbell shrug exercise. You can use a normal barbell loaded with plates or simply use the Smith machine.

Barbell Shrug

How to Perform:

  • Hold a barbell in front of your body, either shoulder width or slightly further, with an overhand grip.
  • Your feet must be shoulder width apart.
  • Now, raise your shoulders as much as you can. Imagine trying to touch your ears with your shoulders.
  • Gradually lower the weight to the starting position.
  • Do 4 sets of 12-15 reps each.

2. Farmer’s Walk Shrug Combo

This exercise will make your traps scream. It’s super hardcore and will make you sweat.

Farmer’s Walk Shrug Combo

How to Perform:

  • Grab a heavy pair of dumbbells in each hand and hold them by your side.
  • Keep your chest up and core tight.
  • Now, walk 10 paces while doing 10 shrugs at the same time.
  • Do 6 sets of 10 paces and 10 shrugs.

3. Overhead Shrugs

The overhead shrug exercise not only develops your traps but also rebalances the shoulders and relieves the pain that might have occurred due to heavy lifting.

Overhead Shrugs

How to Perform:

  • Simply press a bar overhead same as you would with a military press.
  • Hold it when you reach the top and brace your core tight in this position.
  • Slide your shoulder blades upward, contracting your traps.
  • Finally, bring your blades down to starting position.
  • Do 2 sets of 8-12 reps each. Don’t go too heavy on this. Don’t try to be a hero, else you may hurt your rotator cuffs.

4. Simple Dumbbell Shrugs

After overhead shrugs, we’ll do simple shrugs with dumbbells, standing stationary in place. Some may do it with cables but we recommend to do it with dumbbells.


How to Perform:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your sides.
  • Choose a weight heavy enough to ensure you reach failure between reps 10 and 12.
  • Now, raise your shoulders as much as you can and when you reach the top, hold the position for a second. Remember the ear touching idea.
  • Finally, lower the weights to the starting position but keep the tension maintained.
  • Do 4 sets of 10-12 reps each.

5. Laying Bar Shrugs

Though the trapezius muscles are big, they are very stubborn as well. And lying bar shrugs are a perfect way to give them a kick in the ass.

How to Perform:

  • This exercise requires a bench, a couple of 12”-18” boxes and of course, a barbell.
  • Take the bench and place it on top of the boxes.
  • Position the barbell on the floor underneath the bench.
  • Now, lay down on the bench with your face down. Make sure that the barbell is right underneath your shoulders.
  • Grab the bar with your arms completely extended.
  • Pull the shoulder blades back while keeping your chest on the bench. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and then return to your starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 20-25 reps.

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