Top Exercises for Bigger Trapezius

Top Exercises for Bigger Trapezius

What may suggest to you that a person is fit and maintains a trained physique is to observe the shadow which they cast, and in it two protuberances are clear, those mountains that accompany the head, the traps.

What is the anatomy of the Trapezius?

The trapezius is a muscle that is located in the back of the neck and trunk . A muscular body is generally very robust and thick, especially in its upper part and is located in the most superficial muscular layer of the dorsal zone.

Anatomy trapezoid

It is a flat muscle with a triangular shape, although its name does not do it justice

It has several origins depending on the direction of the muscle fibers :

Upper part of the trapezius

  • It originates in the superior curved line of the occipital, in the external occipital protuberance and in the lateral aspect of the posterior cervical ligament.
  • It is inserted in the posterior border and upper face of the external third of the clavicle.

Middle part of the trapezius

  • It starts at the seventh cervical apophysis and the first three dorsal vertebrae.
  • It is inserted in the acromial end of the clavicle, in the acromion and in the upper lip of the spine, in all its entire extension.

Lower trapezius bundle

  • It originates from the spinous processes of the fourth to twelfth dorsal vertebrae.
  • It is inserted in the internal part of the spine, below the transverse portion.


What are the functions of the trapezoid?

  • When taking a fixed point on the axis of the trunk, raises the shoulder and brings the scapula closer to the spine.
  • Fixed on the shoulder girdle, extends the head making it turn .
  • The descending portion is upper rotator of the scapula and the ascending portion is lower rotator
  • It is rotator and head lift .

In order to achieve your goal of developing large traps you can include the following muscle building exercises in your routine:


This is one of the most typical exercises to develop and expand this muscular area. Normally it is known as a shrug, and it can be performed with dumbbells or with a bar, being able to use the multipower support for a rear grip.


We can work it using bars, dumbbells, kettlebells …

How to do this exercise

To carry them out you simply take the dumbbells (or barbell), and raise your shoulders, slightly moving your head forward and looking forward at all times. The force of the arms is not used, these only act as grip supports.

Tip: Alternate days of heavy reps, around 6-8, with days of high reps with more moderate weights, around 12-15

Farmer’s walk

It consists of holding two heavy objects and moving them a certain distance. Sometimes, the simple part and parcel of training in the gym and having to use quite heavy dumbbells helps with this, carrying them from the rack to our training area, since we are almost unknowingly practicing this technique.

Farmer's walk

Farmer’s walk with Dumbbells.

This exercise comes from the “Strongman” mode and you will not only work your traps, but it is a whole system that allows you to enhance your abilities, such as grip strength

What Muscles Are Involved in this exercise

This exercise works practically the entire back in an isometric way, along with shoulders, biceps, triceps (all these happen due to the grip force, because there is no muscle contraction at any time), and it’s important to mention that it also works out the legs.

During the exercise it is important to keep the rectus abdominis muscles active

How to do the exercise

  • To carry out the Farmer’s Walk you must use a high amount of weight.
  • I would recommend that you exceed the weight of each dumbbell or that the object you are lifting in each hand should exceed your own weight .
  • Keep in mind that a pair of dumbbells (the biggest ones in the whole gym 🙂) will help you achieve this.
  • The distance travelled can be variable and depend on our condition , and the limitation of the space you’re in, which could mean that it would be better to do a round trip.

Russian weights farmer walk

The kettlebells are also excellent for the farmer’s walk

Outdoor Training

You should ideally carry out this exercise outdoors («outdoor»), where we do not have space limitations, but it is difficult to have the equipment (or move the equipment to that area).

Therefore, if we are inside an enclosed space we should look for a distance in which we can walk up and down , and allow for the time of each round trip to be around 20 ”(as a minimum measure ) and if it is necessary to scale the time according to the distance we are walking in the given space

Things to bear in mind

Two important points to remember: grip and travel distance .

  1. For the first point , it is very normal that as you advance in your walk, your hands start to open, therefore, another muscle directly involved will be our forearm.
  2. And second, you will have to make sure you have “free access” in order to walk right through the gym. With a considerable weight , this image can start to look like a runaway train coming through the gym to wipe out whatever is in its path.
Tip: If the dumbbells are too small for you, you could always make use of two bars and load the number discs you … 


The deadlift is used in “Powerlifting” competitions and you only have to look at the participants to see their development in other muscle areas, the neck and the traps.

This is one of the exercises known as muscle building exercises , and the name says it all. 

To explain what it is and how to do it, what better than to watch the article and video tutorial from our collaborator PowerExplosive :

  • We can perform a deadlift with a stop on the concentric part, withstanding the load isometrically and enhancing the stimulus towards the muscle area involved.
  • If we want to carry out an exercise with a powerful load, focusing on taking advantage of the movement for the greater development of this musculature and without the “need” to go back to completing the movement of the deadlift from the beginning of the exercise,or starting again.
  • We can always start from the position of a rack, at half height, solving possible “sticking points” 

Snatch Pull

Despite the fact that a Snatch is possibly the most complex movement that we can perform, we can divide it into its 3 parts or pulls , taking advantage in this case of the second pull, as a tool for the maximum development and growth of the traps.

Or in the Anglo-Saxon term “Snatch Pull”.

Snatch pull

“Snatch Pull”. It belongs to the group of Olympic lifts – in particular, it is part of the “Snatch” movement, which leaves us with just second part, or the actual pull

The short-term consequences of introducing these movements will be that our friends will probably try to get our attention and ask us what kind of workouts we do to obtain such an excellent trapezoidal and adjacent muscle development 🙄


We can develop this pull to dramatically enhance and enlarge our traps using two methods:

  1. From a “hanging” position, this would be with the bar starting at a height above our knees.
  2. Or executing the movement pattern from the initial position in which the bar is placed on the floor.

To avoid the incorrect performance of this exercise , it is recommended to use Grip Straps to hold the wrist, so that it supports us in the grip of the bar.

How to do it

A very powerful variant, which a very famous weightlifting athlete, Dmitry Klokov , usually incorporates into his “Snatch High Pull”

Tip: To use a more powerful load and technical ease, and if we have access, we can carry out to snatch pulls from “blocks”


It is a variant of the Olympic movement “Clean or Loaded”, only in this case the bar is received at half height, without performing the deep squat.


This movement combines the above mentioned pull with a vertical jump, adding the hip flexor component which achieves all of the possible performance


Without a shadow of a doubt, this will aid and promote hypertrophy of the trapezius and neck area . This is due to the “snatch” or “pull” movement which we execute at maximum speed and with the highest possible explosiveness. These two variables, together with a certain load or intensity, are one of the fundamental pillars when generating hypertrophy.

For this reason, in the same way as the previous movement, adding this exercise will allow for great benefits, both from an aesthetic point of view, as well as increasing basic qualities such as strength .

How to carry out this exercise

Tip: To generate this stimulus, and if the technique doesn’t seem to be going well, it is best to start the movement hanging. At the beginning it will be necessary to strengthen the technique, and little by little the kg will arrive (only)

Overhead Press

Raising a load above the head will always involve a large chain of muscle. And in this way, traps will also benefit significantly. It can be done with a bar, discs, dumbbells, kettlebells, that is, any object that can be lifted above your head.

Overhead Press

Of course, without a correct technique, they can also become the most injury prone


When we push the weight above our head, while standing, the stabilization muscles start working, and that’s when in order to support the weight held in this position, our traps take action and work at full capacity.

How to carry out this exercise

Push Press

If we want to increase the intensity (load) we can opt for the Push Press, an exercise practically similar to the military press, except that to start the movement we support with a push of the hips and legs.

They can considerably increase the weights that we are able to lift above our heads.

  • For the strict military press we can start with the bar in front of the head, or behind if we prefer.
  • And if you are making good progress with your shoulder flexibility, maximise the stimulus through the “Bradford Press”, where the bar is moved from the initial position of the military press, above the head, and placed on our traps.
  • This exercise is great as “finisher” for your set.

After reading the article, you may well put one of the exercises into practice, and if you are curious and really want to make greater progress, and not only in the development of your traps, you could give weightlifting a go, either by going to a specialized gym or a Crossfit box venue.

Related articles

Review of Trapezius Exercises

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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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