WATCH: Three Exercises to Build Bigger Traps

TAGS: bigger trap muscles, trap exercises, training traps, mountain dog leg workout, Tom Boyden, OK Tour, jujimufu, john meadows

As they wrap up their OK Tour, Jujimufu and Tom Boyden join John Meadows for a legs-focused training session at elitefts in London, Ohio. After Meadows takes them through one of his legendary “mountain dog” leg workouts, the three of them sit down to answer questions from readers.

In this video clip, Meadows answers a question related to any advice that he would have for training traps, since according to this particular person, regular shrugs don’t seem to make much of a difference. In response, Meadows breaks down three simple but effective exercises that are alternative movements to help build bigger trap muscles.

At first, Meadows is somewhat skeptical of this question. He says that claiming that shrugs don’t grow the trap muscles is like saying that curls don’t work the biceps. In an ideal world, he would prefer to observe how the person who submitted this question is actually executing their shrugs. Are they performing it as a bouncy movement with heavy weight? Or are they actually holding the weight and contracting their traps, stretching at the bottom, and then contracting again? Meadows states that he’s yet to meet someone who didn’t see trap growth if they held their traps in a two-second flex at the top of a movement. Nonetheless, he decides to give this person the benefit of the doubt, and provides three alternative exercises that may be more effective.

First, is band-pulls. You can hook a thick band from a low position and pull in different angles. You could elevate your scapula, or pull in a backwards motion to hit different areas of your trap muscles. Secondly, you could try a face-pull variation in which you focus on flexing PAR-3 and PAR-4, right in the middle of your traps. This movement is intended to be less of a shrug, and more of a pull. Finally, and perhaps Meadows’ favorite, are banded shrugs. You can stand on a thick band and just pull back and flex with your arms, leaning downward.

By incorporating one or more of these exercises into your training program, you should see significant trap growth over time. Furthermore, most of these exercises are simple and require little equipment – so even if you don’t have access to a fancy gym, you can still make gains.

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