When To Train Traps

Some Say With Shoulders, Other Say Back

When To Train Traps - Some Say With Shoulders, Other Say Back
Poll your local gym on any given day and ask the members what body part they train their traps with. Many will swear by shoulders, while others will scoff at that and say to work them on back day.

So which group is right? Well…both of them, really.

“I emphasize the trapezius with two to three muscle groups per week,” says IFBB MPD competitor Jason Poston. “One power day and two strength days. I wanted to develop the posterior chain and also have linebacker traps!”


*Key Notes: Symmetry, control and form. Think ‘retract/contract’ instead of ’lift to my ears.’

*hang cleans (4-to-5 sets X 8 reps)
*deadlift + shrugs combo (4-to-5 sets, 8 reps)

STRENGTH [Back Day]:
*standing low cable rope row, squeezing upper back and traps (4 sets, 15 reps)
*T-bar row , more upright than bent (4 sets, 12-to-15 reps)

When To Train Traps - Some Say With Shoulders, Other Say BackSTRENGTH [Shoulder Day]
*barbell shrug (4 sets, 15-to-20 reps)
*dumbbell shrug, slow and contracted (4 sets, 10-to-12 reps)
*barbell behind-the-back shrug, lighter and controlled (4 sets, 20 reps)

*overhead squats, perfect form helps develop great traps

Shoulder day is when you will find IFBB pro Christopher Villa training his traps. “I feel more of a pump when I hit them together,” he says, “and also a great blood flow.”


*4 drop sets of dumbbell shrugs (15-to-25 reps)

NPC MPD competitor Jake Kelbrants will couple traps with shoulders, but still gets plenty of work in on them using a routine where he trains every body part twice a week.

“My take on trap training is old school,” he says, “taking advice from “The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.” Arnold (Schwarzenegger) said in order for your traps to grow, you must train them extremely heavy. And I will also train them at the end of the first shoulder day and the beginning of the other.”


*seated alternate dumbbell shrugs (4 sets, 15 reps)
*barbell shrugs (4 sets of 8,8,6,4 reps held for one second at the top)