Building an aesthetic and symmetrical physique is certainly not an easy task, and it’s not something that happens overnight, or even over the course of a few weeks either for that matter. In order to really build a powerful and muscular physique to be proud of, you need to work every major muscle group in your body, training each one with the same levels of enthusiasm and passion as you would your favorite ones. In terms of really making an individual look big and powerful, a set of huge traps can work wonders, which is why more and more bodybuilders find themselves searching for ways to build bigger traps to help balance out their physiques. If you’re looking to build bigger traps such as Mike Rashid, for example, take a look at these handy tips and before you know it you’ll have traps that would make the incredible hulk jealous.
Shrugs – No routine aimed at people looking to build bigger traps would be complete without mentioning shrugs, and rightfully so.
Shrugs are a classic exercise in the bodybuilding community that have been specially designed to work specifically on the upper Trapezius muscle, which is the part of the traps that are most visible when we flex. In terms of which shrugs to perform, you can go with either barbell shrugs, or dumbbell shrugs. With barbell shrugs for example, take barbell, load the bar up with heavy weights, which should be roughly around 80% of your deadlift 1 rep max. If you don’t deadlift, don’t over think things, just go with weights that feel heavy, but that you still feel in control of. Grab the barbell, stand up straight, and then just basically shrug your shoulders, as if you’re trying to touch your ears with your shoulders. Ideally you should go for around 10 – 15 reps as you will want to feel the burn in your traps once you’ve finished. A lot of people prefer to use wrist straps to help them with their grip, so if this applies to you, go with straps. If using dumbbells, perform the same exercise, except, obviously, using dumbbells rather than the barbell.
EZ bar upright rows – Upright rows are another fantastic exercise for training not only the deltoids, but also the upper back and the traps in the process. They’re a relatively simple exercise to perform, and if you do them correctly, rather than using your body to gain momentum to get the weight up, you will quickly feel the benefits and will feel a distinct pump in your traps. To perform EZ bar upright rows, take an EZ bar, load either side up with a moderate weight, and, whilst standing up straight, grip the bar with an overhand grip slightly closer than shoulder-width and slowly pull the bar up into the air until it is level with your nose. Hold for a second, try to contract the traps, and slowly lower the weight back down and repeat again for your desired number of reps. Again, higher reps are better as you will feel more pumped.
High pulls – High pulls are another example of a fantastic exercise that is guaranteed to help anybody build bigger traps in no time at all. Begin by taking an Olympic barbell, and add a relatively heavy weight to either side. Take an underhand grip to the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart from one another. Next, allow the bar to hang so that your arms are fully extended and slowly arch your lower back, keep your shoulder and butt back, and slowly lower the bar down. Once the bar is around an inch above your knee use your legs, hips, shoulders, and traps together simultaneously to help bring the bar back up to your chest. As it reaches your chest, it will naturally fall back down, so make sure you use your legs and your hips as shock absorbers. Because of the nature of this exercise, you must make sure that you use a weight that you can control at all times.
Single-arm dumbbell upright rows – We’ve looked at EZ bar upright rows, now we’ll take a look at single-arm upright dumbbell rows. A great way of gauging how much weight/reps to use, stick with a formula in which, say for example, you use a 40lb dumbbell, you would, per arm perform 40 reps. If you do go heavier and find yourself struggling with this high rep approach, try rest-pausing until you hit the desired amount of reps. Take a dumbbell in one hand, and, starting from the elbow, row it into the air until your palm is level with your nose. Perform your set number of reps for one arm, then immediately jump right onto the next arm, and do exactly the same thing. To begin with, the exercise will feel incredibly easy, but as the reps get higher and higher, it will begin to get much more challenging.