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5 Best Exercises For Traps Worth Incorporating To Redefine Your Physique

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The traps are an often misunderstood and underappreciated muscle group.

While not the largest muscles, traps play an important role in supporting the neck and shoulders.

Having strong traps also helps create a more defined and balanced upper body physique.

For many gym-goers, traps tend to get ignored or only targeted occasionally. However, you can significantly boost your trap development with the right exercises performed regularly.

In this post, we will share the 5 best exercises to add size and thickness to your traps, along with tips on form, sets/reps, and how frequently you should train them each week.

Stick with these moves, and you'll be strengthening your upper back and neck while building impressive trapezius muscles:

Best Exercises For Traps At-Home

Listed below are the best workouts to build your traps:

1.     Barbell Shrugs

Barbell Shrugs

Barbell shrugs are an excellent isolation exercise specifically targeting the trapezius muscles.

By lifting the shoulders towards the ears in a controlled manner, this exercise effectively engages the upper traps, promoting muscle hypertrophy and strength development.

The focused contraction and release of the traps during barbell shrugs help enhance the muscle's overall definition, contributing to a well-developed and sculpted upper back.


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring the barbell is placed in front of you.
  • Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.


  • Keep your back straight, chest up, and engage your core.
  • In a controlled manner, lift your shoulders straight up toward your ears.
  • Focus on using your traps to elevate the shoulders, avoiding excessive movement in your arms.
  • Squeeze your traps at the top of the movement to fully engage the muscles.


  • Lower the barbell back down slowly, resisting the pull of gravity.
  • Aim for a smooth, controlled descent.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, gradually increasing weight as needed.

2.     Power Cleans

Power Cleans

Although primarily a full-body compound movement, power cleans significantly involve the trapezius muscles.

The explosive nature of the lift engages the traps during the upward phase, particularly as the shoulders are shrugged to bring the body under the bar.

This exercise promotes trap development and enhances overall power, coordination, and athleticism.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, and the barbell on the ground.
  • Bend at the hips and knees to grip the barbell with an overhand grip, hands just outside your knees.


  • Keep your back flat, chest up, and shoulders over the barbell.
  • Explosively lift the bar by extending your hips and knees simultaneously.
  • As the barbell reaches hip height, shrug your shoulders and pull your body under the bar.
  • Catch the bar in a front squat position, with elbows pointing forward and hips back.


  • Stand up with the bar, straightening your hips and knees.
  • Lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 5-8 repetitions, focusing on explosive power and proper form.

3.     Farmer's Walk

Farmer's Walk

Farmer's walks provide a unique and effective workout for the traps while also engaging the entire body.

As you carry heavy weights in each hand and walk, the traps actively stabilise the shoulders and upper back. This exercise promotes trap development and contributes to improved posture and grip strength.

Additionally, the traps play a crucial role in maintaining an upright position during the walk, enhancing their endurance.


  • Stand between two heavy dumbbells or kettlebells placed on the ground.
  • Hinge at the hips to grasp the handles with a neutral grip (palms facing your body).


  • Lift the weights by extending your hips and knees.
  • Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and engage your core.
  • Walk forward in a controlled manner, taking short, quick steps.
  • Maintain a straight posture, avoiding excessive leaning.


  • Walk for a set distance or time, then carefully lower the weights.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 50-100 feet, gradually increasing the weight as your strength improves.

4.     Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Dumbbell lateral raises primarily target the deltoids' lateral or side portion but also engage the upper traps.

As the arms are lifted laterally, the traps contribute to the movement, providing additional stimulus to this muscle group.

Incorporating these trap exercises with dumbbells into your routine helps in achieving well-rounded shoulder development, including the traps, and contributes to an aesthetically pleasing upper body.


  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides, and palms facing your body.


  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows and lift the dumbbells out to the sides.
  • Raise your arms until they are parallel to the ground, forming a "T" shape.
  • Focus on using your side deltoids to lift the weights.


  • Lower the dumbbells back down in a controlled manner.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions, maintaining strict form throughout.

5.     Trap Bar Deadlifts

Trap Bar Deadlifts

Trap bar deadlifts are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the traps.

The upward movement of lifting the barbell involves the traps as stabilizers and dynamic contributors, promoting both strength and size.

The neutral grip of the trap bar can be advantageous for those with shoulder concerns, making it a great exercise for traps while minimizing stress on other joints.

Incorporating trap bar deadlifts into your routine contributes to overall back strength and development.


  • Stand inside a trap (hex) bar with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at the hips and knees to grip the handles with a neutral grip.


  • Keep your back flat, chest up, and engage your core.
  • Lift the bar by extending your hips and knees simultaneously.
  • Stand tall with the barbell, ensuring a straight line from head to heels.


  • Lower the barbell back to the ground in a controlled manner.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions, focusing on proper form and hip hinge mechanics.

Over To You

There are a variety of exercises that work the trap muscles in unique and effective ways.

If you're looking to build bulky or lean muscle, prioritizing these exercises for traps can help you get impressive results quickly.

Engage your traps in at least two weekly workouts to ensure you properly develop your physique and have your friends ask what your secret is.

So, if you're ready to make some real gains and take your fitness journey up a notch, pick out a few of the best trap workouts outlined above and start building those beastly traps today.