Traps get no respect. They fit in with both shoulders and back, and therefore can be worked (and overworked) with either. Piggybacking with broader workouts, traps seldom get the honor of their own routines, and yet, your two trapezius muscles (left and right) are large, dramatic and complex, bracketing your delts and neck, and forming a kite on your upper back. By contrast, your biceps are puny and simple, but surely you have a bi routine and dote on every curl. Don’t shrug off trapezius training. Give it the respect it deserves by passing our traps test. Class is in session.
MISTAKE #1: OVERTRAINING
You may be unaware of how frequently you’re working this area. Traps gets stressed during deadlifts, rows, pulldowns and virtually every other exercise. With shoulders, traps assist in most laterals and presses, and do much of the work during upright rows. They even chip in during chest presses and biceps curls with your arms at your sides. And if you’re doing more athletic moves, such as power cleans or farmer’s walks, your traps are pulling overtime duty. Traps are like offensive linemen — never the star, but always assisting — and this is why they may be sore but not growing.
- If you do deadlifts or power cleans as part of your back workout, do shrugs at the end of that workout.
- If you do neither deadlifts nor power cleans for back, but upright rows (even if done with a wide grip) as part of your shoulder routine, include shrugs in your shoulder workouts.
- Avoid training back and shoulders on consecutive days. Either train them on the same day or schedule at least 48 hours between the workouts.
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