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Mile High Traps

Article written by Marshall White for

One of the things people instantly notice on an athlete are traps.  Massive traps are usually more noticeable and will draw more attention than the chest and biceps that the “squat rack curlers” are so obsessed with.  The big difference between these “attention getting muscles” is that big traps will actually help you in your athletic endeavors.
I get asked all the time what my shrug routine looks like because my traps are so big.  I usually just answer “I have good genetics” because anyone that thinks shrugs build big thick traps isn’t worth having a conversation with.  Lucky for you very intelligent people reading Lift Big Eat Big (instead of some douchey fitness mag) I’m going to tell you the secret to big, powerful traps.
The secret to traps is EXPLOSIVE LIFTING!!  It really is that simple.  Olympic lifts are some of the best movements for building huge traps.  Check out Klokov’s traps sometime, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t post up in the squat rack and shrug to his heart’s content.  One or two max effort  snatches or clean and jerks is worth multiple high rep sets of shrugs in my opinion.  If you want big powerful  traps you must do Olympic lifts.  
The second thing that will build scary big traps is strongman movements.  Heavy farmers walks, tire flip, stone loading, etc etc. all done explosively (is there any other way to do them?) will build trap thickness that will scare children and small dogs.  Adding in strongman movements and oly lifts will build complete traps as well.  Bodybuilders have big traps yes, but they often lack the trap thickness that extends down into the middle of their upper back.  Strength athletes don’t lack this type of development.
Put these movements into your routine and watch your traps start to swallow your neck.  Then sit back and enjoy as people start noticing how frickin huge you are.

9 thoughts on “Mile High Traps

  1. Excellent, love this information you guys put out.

  2. I started 2-3 times a week olympic lifting with a coach 7 weeks ago. My lifts have gone up a lot due to the coaching and I might be moderately stronger, but the one very noticeable difference is my traps. Marshall speaks the truth.

  3. Love it! I do a combination of pole dancing and strength training, and since I started doing more advanced pole moves like handsprings, I have built CRAZY traps, so much that a friend of mine at the gym has a song for me, ‘baby got traps’ (oh my gaaawd Becky, would you look at her massive traps). I have never, ever done a shrug (I always wondered why guys at the gym do them, now I know) 🙂

  4. I disagree on the shrug bashing in this. Doing shrugs will build massive traps, but you’ve got to go seriously heavy for them to work for you. Anything less than 1RM deadlift weight is not nearly heavy enough. If you don’t believe it then look up Jamie Lewis of Chaos and Pain fame. That guy has some serious traps which he attributes to doing massively heavy power shrugs.

  5. Amy, do you have pole dancing vids posted?

  6. shameless creepin’ … i can dig it.

  7. I have just recently begun to follow LBEB. Thank you for the information. Anonymous, um, yes, it probably is possible for someone to get big traps by doing heavy shrugs, but why would you limit yourself to one very specific movement? Olympic lifting is so much more efficient to build the whole body, traps included. I understand oly lifts are harder to learn than the shrug, but it is so much more beneficial. I am but one small man, but even I see the difference in my body from doing oly lifts. End.

  8. Lol, Ive got a couple on youtube but theyre a bit rubbish to be honest ;).Am nowhere near as good as I want to be yet, but slowly progressing, lifting has helped so much.

  9. “Bodybuilders have big traps yes, but they often lack the trap thickness that extends down into the middle of their upper back. Strength athletes don’t lack this type of development.”

    This is complete bullshit. Bodybuilders back pose is judged on their trap(upper, mid, lower) size and definition so they but alot of effort into it but strength “athletes” usually completely lack mid-back strength and size and therefore get shoulders injuries.

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