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Traps : Redefine the norms to form a better you

The trapezius muscles, often referred to as traps, are large muscles located in the upper back and neck. These powerful muscles play a crucial role in various movements, including shrugging, rotating the head, and keeping your shoulders stable. Strong traps contribute to improved posture, enhanced athletic performance, and a well-defined physique.

Here are some of the top exercises for building strong and defined traps:

1. Barbell Shrugs: A classic and effective exercise targeting the upper traps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell in front of your thighs with an overhand grip. Lift your shoulders as high as possible while keeping your arms straight. Squeeze your traps at the top for a second before slowly lowering the weight. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

2. Dumbbell Shrugs: Similar to barbell shrugs, but with dumbbells, allowing for a more natural range of motion and isolation of each trap muscle. Hold dumbbells by your sides, lift your shoulders while keeping your arms straight, and squeeze your traps at the top. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps with controlled movements.

3. Upright Rows: Targets the upper traps, deltoids, and lateral muscles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbell with an overhand grip. Pull the weight towards your chin, keeping your elbows higher than your hands throughout the movement. Focus on leading with your elbows and maintaining proper form. 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps are recommended.

4. Face Pulls: Strengthens the rear deltoids and upper traps, contributing to balanced shoulder development. Attach a rope to a cable pulley and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pull the rope towards your face, retracting your shoulder blades and bringing your hands to the sides of your head. Squeeze your upper back muscles and focus on controlled movements. Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.

5. Dumbbell Lateral Raises: While not directly targeting traps, they develop the sides of the shoulders, improving overall shoulder aesthetics. Stand with dumbbells in your hands, arms by your sides. Raise your arms laterally until they’re parallel to the ground, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Focus on contracting your lateral deltoids. 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps with controlled movements are ideal.

6. Barbell Deadlifts: Although primarily a lower body exercise, deadlifts also engage the traps as stabilizers. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, grip the barbell with an overhand or mixed grip, and lift the weight by extending your hips and knees. As you stand, your traps help stabilize your shoulders and upper back. 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps are recommended, starting with a manageable weight and progressively increasing it.


  • Begin with lighter weights to refine your form before gradually increasing them.
  • Incorporate exercise variety to prevent plateaus and target different muscle fibers.
  • Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise, using a weight that challenges you.
  • Allow adequate recovery time between workouts for optimal muscle growth.

By incorporating these exercises and following these tips, you can effectively build strong and defined traps, enhance your posture, improve your athletic performance, and achieve your fitness goals. Remember, consistency and proper form are key to unlocking your full potential.

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