6 Best Upper Trap Exercises For Men

Try these exercises to get bigger traps! (Image via unsplash/Anastase Maragos)
Try these exercises to get bigger traps! (Image via unsplash/Anastase Maragos)

The upper traps are a muscle group that few people like to talk about, let alone exercise. They're the ones that make your shoulders appear broad and strong, but can also cause neck pain in some people. Exercises that target this muscle group will make your back bigger and more defined. Additionally, you'll need to carry out these exercises consistently and habitually, progressively adding weight as you gain strength.

The exercises listed below will help you develop a strong upper back and a solid frame.

Barbell Shrugs and 5 other Upper Trap Exercises For Men

1) Standing Dumbbell Front Raise

This exercise is perfect for a workout at home because all you need are a pair of dumbbells.

To do this exercise, follow these steps:

  • Start with a dumbbell in each hand, arms by your side.
  • Raise the dumbbells upward until they're at shoulder height.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position for one rep. Repeat this eight times for three sets total of 8 reps per set, resting as needed between sets.


2) Seated Dumbbell Shrugs

Dumbbell shrugs are an easy weightlifting exercise to incorporate into your strength training routine.

To do this exercise,

  • Sit down on a bench or chair and hold two dumbbells at arm's length next to your waist.
  • Keeping your arms straight in front of you, lift the weights up towards your shoulders as high as possible.
  • Then, lower them back down to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


3) Barbell Shrugs

Barbell shrugs are a great option if you have access to a barbell but have difficulty reaching your traps with dumbbells, or simply wish to use different equipment.

To perform barbell shrugs:

  • Hold a barbell and stand straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift the weight from the ground to your waist.
  • Shrug your shoulders as high as possible. Squeeze your traps for 2 seconds at the top of each rep before lowering it back down for another rep.


4) Straight Arm Banded Pull-Apart

Banded pull-aparts offer stern resistance to your trapezius and can help you build great muscles.

Here's how to do them:

  • Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the band in both hands and your arms extended in front of you at shoulder height, elbows locked.
  • Keep your arms straight, shoulder blades together, and keep the band taut at shoulder height (don’t let it touch the ground).
  • Make sure that you don’t let the band touch either ear; instead, keep them up by squeezing them together slightly as if trying to hold a pencil between them without dropping it!
  • Finally, keep your shoulders down and back while keeping the chest up high so that there is no hunching or rounding of the upper back area as this can cause pain or injury to those muscles too quickly which defeats our purpose of strengthening them!


5) Banded Face Pulls

Banded face pulls work your traps as well as your triceps and delts.

Here's how to do them:

  • Place a resistance band around your upper traps and attach the other end to a sturdy object.
  • Step back from the anchor point so that there is tension on the band, then lean forward with your chest out, arms relaxed at your sides, and palms facing down; keep your core tight throughout this exercise.
  • Pull backward with both hands until they're in line with your head; keep pulling until your arms are fully extended behind you (this is known as full external rotation). Inhale deeply through this motion as if you're trying to stretch out everything in front of you while also engaging those muscles!


6) Inverted Rows

Inverted rows will allow you to strengthen the upper traps and rhomboids on both sides of your body.

To do an inverted row,

  • Simply place a barbell or EZ-curl bar in a rack above you at hip level (if using an EZ-curl bar it can be set on its metal clips).
  • Grasp the bar with palms facing away from you and walk yourself under it so that there is room for your feet under the bar (remembering that this will vary depending on the height of where you’re setting up).
  • From here, pull yourself up so that your chest touches or almost touches the weight before slowly returning back down to the start position. You should feel some tension in both shoulders throughout this movement.

You can progress by changing how far apart you hold yourself while doing these exercises: (wider stance = more difficult; closer stance = less difficult).



These workouts will help you get rid of shoulder and neck pain while also building muscles. The best thing about these exercises is that you can perform them at home without any equipment.

Keep your form steady and rest well; you'll have massive traps before you know it!

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Edited by Babylona Bora
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