If you want bigger traps, then you will want to watch this video as it will guide you to more growth in every area of your trapezius muscles – upper, middle and lower. Many people are not aware that the fibers of the traps are divided into these three main zones. The effect of this is that this allows us to more favorably strengthen or develop these areas by choosing trap exercises that better match the function of the fibers.

As always, it helps to start with the anatomy of the trap muscles in order to better understand how to train them. As noted, the three regions of this muscle are the upper fibers, middle fibers and lower fibers. The orientation of the muscle fibers in each area changes. In the upper traps, the muscle runs down and out. With an origin at the base of the skull and a downward direction out to the end of your shoulder, the main function of these fibers is to help to elevate the shoulder towards the ears.

Interestingly, since this area is the one most opposed to the forces of gravity, it is the zone that is most capable of high tension and strength. Choosing trap exercises that better build your strength here is something that you will definitely want to include in a complete trap workout plan. That said, as with all of the areas of the trapezius muscle, long duration endurance capacity is something that you will want to develop as well and we will choose the best exercises for upper traps that achieve this down below.

Next, the middle fibers of the traps run more east to west or parallel to the ground. This is once again an indicator of their function. Rather than focusing on pulling the shoulders up, this area of the muscle is more responsible for retracting the shoulder blades and pinching them together. As a hybrid between the upper and lower traps however, this zone is capable of both high tension under heavier loads and focused tension under lighter loads. Exercises for both are chosen as a result.

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Finally, the lower traps have a down and in muscle fiber orientation. Once again, the direction reveals the function. Their job is to assist in the rotation of the shoulder blade while providing the stability to the shoulder girdle during overhead pressing. The importance of the lower traps cannot be understated when it comes to preserving the health of the shoulder during heavier compound lifts performed with the arms overhead.

Regarding the best exercise choices for each zone, as covered in this video, we have:

Upper Trap Exercises
– Long Duration = Carries with Dumbbells, Trap Bar (shoutout to Chris Duffin of Kabuki Strength for the amazing bar) Kettlebells, Farmer’s Bars, OR Cable Hercules Hold (not shown but on IG) provides better angle of action for the upper traps.

– Short Duration = DB Shrugs, Barbell Shrugs, Trap Bar Shrugs, Cable Angled Trap Shrug

Middle Traps Exercises
– Long Duration = Back Widow Holds for time, Wrap Around Holds for time

– Short Duration = Wrap Around Rows for reps, Back Widows for reps

Lower Trap Exercises

– Long Duration = Y Press, Prone Press

– Short Duration = Plate Raises, Overhead Face Pull

The key to building big traps is to have an understanding of their anatomy and function, and most importantly, an attack plan for getting them to grow. In this growth guide, you now have a trap workout that will hit every portion of the muscle from every angle. No stone left unturned on your way to building big thick traps.

If you’re looking for a complete program that helps you to build a ripped, athletic body while putting the science back in strength, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and shop the program that is best suited to your current goals.

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59 thoughts on “All About Traps (COMPLETE GROWTH GUIDE!)”
  1. Ok Jeff let’s be clear about one thing. We never gave a damn about the weight you lift, it was all about your knowledge and awesome and supportive personality and it still is. That being said Greg is right that you should address the situation in a grown manner. I believe you will do right. Thank you for being who you are dawg.

    1. But Greg is just another fitness youtuber who has an obvious interest in benefitting fr this beef. He has no moral ground to accuse Jeff, so Jeff is not obliged to do what he says either. His fans agree it’s not a big deal, moving on is the best thing to do.

  2. Jeff: “If the upper traps are responsible for high tension, then the lower traps are responsible for…”

    Me: Looow tension.

    Jeff: “… _focused_ tension.”

    Me: *oh* …

    1. One problem today, tomorrow another, they won’t stop, he shouldn’t be unprofessional to reply to every little things like this. And 1100 vids and they’re going blabbing about this. This is the accuracy of his vids. From gym dude’s eyes, “near 500 pounds” can be 480, 490 or even 475 pounds, even Arnold Schwarzenegger would agree. Duh. .

    1. @Nicolau when you think a certain animated character is of a certain gender, whether due to innuendo or reaction and the like, but are not.

  3. Oh man you fixed my shoulder pain of 2 years, how can I ever thank you.

    Jeff: you’re thanking it wrong, Jesse show him.

    1. Actually with good nutritions balanced diet, you can take care of tendons and no way to make them stronger likes muscle! To prevent injury to Tendons: Good stretching and warm up are must and all jerky movements to be avoided and it includes the “Negatives” especially!

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