Dad Bod

The Best Trap Workout For Regular Guys

This little-discussed muscle holds the key to better posture and greater upper body strength. These 7 moves will get you the back you’ve been looking for.

Originally Published: 
A man doing a Trapezius Exercise

You got your best six-pack abs workout in. But you should never just work out your glamour muscles in the front. That’s why we’ve come up with the best trap workout for the back. If we had to pick one vanity muscle for your back, the trapezius would be it. This long and triangular muscle rides from the base of your neck, across your scapula, out to your shoulder tips, then down your spine to your mid-back. Given the real estate it covers, it’s no wonder it can give your upper back awesome definition when properly flexed. And women love it.

Of course, the trapezius isn’t just a vanity muscle. It helps with just about every upright movement you want to perform — from carrying kids to bringing in the groceries, to moving furniture around or changing lightbulbs. The best trap workouts really aren’t just for meatheads or gym rats, and in fact, it shouldn’t be. There’s a case to be made that the every-man needs to do trapezius exercises just as much as Arnold Schwarzenegger does. These muscles give your spine and shoulders proper reinforcement and provide the tension that prevents you from slouching over at the end of a long day of work.

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Hey, let’s make today a traps day!” Then this trap workout at home is for you. This quick 15 to 20-minute, 7-move routine, can be added to the end of arms day or worked in after a bout of cardio. Do it three times a week to see major changes in about a month.

Diver Pose

Works: Lower traps

Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, bend knees and hinge forward at the waist so your back is flat and parallel to the floor. Raise arms out in front of you in a Y shape, like you’re getting ready to dive into a pool. Hold five counts. Release. Repeat 8 times.

Barbell Shrug

Works: Upper traps

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell in front of you, arms extended, using an overhand grip. Keeping your arms straight, shrug your shoulders, raising the barbell several inches as you do. Relax. 8 reps, 2 sets.

Lateral Lifts

Works: Upper traps

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand. Holding weights vertically (north/south orientation), raise your arms out to the sides. Hold for two counts, slowly lower. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Farmer’s Carry

Works: Upper, middle, and lower traps

Holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand, arms straight by your sides, walk around the room. Focus on keeping your spine straight and shoulders back. 60-second walks, 3 times.

High Pulls

Works: Lower traps

Stand with feet hip-width apart about three feet from the cable pull. Position the pulley at head height. Using the Y-handle, pull the cable directly toward your head, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Hold two counts, release. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Overhead Carry

Works: Upper, middle, and lower traps

Holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand, raise arms straight over your head, palms facing each other. Press shoulders down and keep your spine straight as you walk around the room. 60-second walk, 3 times.

Row Machine

Works: Middle and lower traps

Get your cardio done along with your traps toning with 10 minutes on the erg. Focus on fully extending your arms in front of you as you push back with the quads and feet first, then squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the cable to your chest. The speed of your rowing motion will raise your heart rate, but for muscle building, it’s more important to think about good form.

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