Develop Your Traps With These Weight Training Lifts
The traps, as they are commonly called, are the Trapezius muscles. They connect your back and your neck (to put it simply). Most often they are trained when working out the shoulders or back.
There are only a few exercises you can use to train these muscles. But don't let that put you off. You can achieve massive growth in this are using just a few simple movements. Often it's enough to simply do a few shrugs after your main workout exercises.
The main movements that utilise the traps are the Shrug, and The Upright Row.
These are to be done with dumbbells or a barbell. They can also be done using a smith machine but with less range of motion. They can also be done in front of the body or behind.
They are performed quite simply by grabbing some weight, and shrugging your shoulders! Nothing to it. Some people like to add some variation by rolling their shoulders forwards, then backwards in a circular motion when they shrug. That's why I recommend using dumbells or a barbell instead of the smith machine so you can get the best range and flexibility with the movement. You can stimulate the area more effectively this way.
How it's done:
1. Grab the weight and hold it at arms length in front of your body using an overhand grip
2. Raise your shoulders and try to touch your ears, as high as you can
3. Hold the movement for a bit, then lower slowly and repeat
It's important to do this motion with maximum control so as to avoid straining the muscles of your neck. However, you can really get some heavy weight going as the movement is quite small.
The other great exercise for developing your traps is the Upright Row.
Most often performed as part of a shoulder workout, it's a great way to hit the full shoulder area while getting the traps at the same time.
How it's done:
1. Take a wide grip if you're intending to hit the traps with more intensity.
2. Hold the bar with a wide grip at arms length near your thighs
3. Lift the bar straight up along the line of your body until you get to about the height of your chin
4. Hold for a moment, then lower and repeat
It's important to keep you elbows high so they are higher than the bar throughout the movement.
These 2 exercises, combined with some solid shoulder exercises and back workouts will help you develop the stronger neck and traps muscles you've been looking for.