The 6 Best Trap Exercises (YOU’VE NEVER DONE!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. We’re talking about the traps today and I’m
giving you six trap exercises that you have never done, or likely never done, depending
upon your training experience. The thing we want to clarify first and foremost;
when it comes to the traps, it’s not just the upper traps. The things that connect your ears to your
shoulders. We have to – if we’re going to be balanced
here – remember the importance of the lower traps. I’m going to hit both areas today with these
six exercises. Let’s get going. First up is the kneeling dumbbell shrug. The key to this movement, and the effectiveness
of it is the kneeling position. We’re taking the lower body out of this exercise. A lot of times when people do standing shrugs,
either with a dumbbell, or a barbell, they allow way too much momentum from the lower
body, and they’re basically catching the weight at the top. Here, I want you to drive the weight up. You can see the lower body is completely out
of it. Now I have to use my traps to actually lift
those dumbbells up. I’m trying to get as small as I possibly can. Meaning, as crunched up, and as tightened
up as I possibly can. Bring those shoulders, not just up, but in
toward my ears on every, single rep. Again, I’m not allowed the benefit of my legs
here helping this movement. Try to switch out to this exercise and I promise
you, you’re going to see more work being done by the traps, and in the long run, better
gains. Now let’s stay down in that kneeling position
for this second exercise. I mentioned it in the open. The lower traps are incredibly important if
you want true shoulder balance, and really long-term health of your shoulders. What we can do here is with two cables set
down low, reach across, and grab the right cable with the left hand, and the left cable
with the right hand. And now in that same kneeling position you’re
just going to what we call a ‘trap raise’, or an ‘overhead trap raise’. Now we can do this standing with a plate,
but again, we’re using the same concept of eliminating some of that lower body momentum
by getting down onto our knees. We’re going to lift straight up, overhead. You can see as I get all the way up – you
want to get as high as you possibly can – you can see the lower traps here have to fire
to make sure our shoulder blades stay in contact with our ribcage, and move accordingly. Try this and, at least, mix it in. If you’re going to be doing your upper trap
exercises, make sure you’re mixing in at least one for one, the lower trap exercises, too. This next exercise is one that I broke out
in our complete back workout, that I’ll actually link at the end of this video because it’s
got a lot of other exercises that hit the other areas of the back that you’ll want to
check out. But it’s our twisting trap shrug. Here, the key is the position of our body
in relation to the cable machine. I’m perpendicular to it. What we’re going for here is, we’re allowing
the muscle to be aligned in a way that puts on maximum stretch, and when we contract it,
it allows us to follow the fibers. I say that all the time. The trap fibers, we know, come down, and out;
away from the back of our heads, and down toward the outside of our shoulders. So if we align ourselves this way, and we
contract from here, you can see we’re actually contracting along that direction of the fibers. But we know the traps are capable of retracting
the shoulder blades as well. So we don’t just end it with that shrug,
we then twist, and pull back into a retraction. So again, every, single rep here is getting
the benefit of following the fibers on the initial shrug, and then with that quick twist,
and pull we’re getting that powerful retraction as well. It’s a great exercise combo, and again, something
– if you haven’t tried it already, you’re going to want to try it, and feel the difference
that this one allows. The next one up here is actually one of my
all-time favorites. It’s the dumbbell shrug row. We know that whenever we do a one-armed row,
depending upon where our elbow is in relation to our body, or how it travels on the way
up, we can hit different areas of our back. We can keep it nice, and tight, and we can
hit the lats. We can let it flare way out, we can hit the
rear delt, but we can also initiate the row with a different muscle. That is exactly what we’re doing here. You can see that every, single one of these
rows is initiated – the first movement – is initiated by the traps. We’re shrugging first, and then rowing, maintaining
the shrug throughout the row every, single time. I promise you, the intense contraction that
you’re going to feel here in the traps is one that you’ve probably never felt before. Start mixing in this exercise when you’re
doing all your other rows because again, you have an opportunity for you to not just hit
those bigger muscles of your back, but work your way all the way up to the top so you
can start hitting these traps as well. Now we head into the lighter weights portion
of this video and, I swear, the harder portion because if you try this you might not even
be able to navigate through these final two exercises with any weight at all, let alone
light weights. We start off with the dumbbell prone press. Now again, this is another one of those incredible
lower trap exercises that is going to really, really be difficult. Especially if you’ve been ignoring these critical
muscles all the way along here. So what you want to do is, take a pair of
dumbbells – I’ve got 5s here. I promise you; it’s very difficult. What I’m doing is, I’m lying on my belly,
and I’m going to press the dumbbells straight up, overhead as far as I possibly can, up,
overhead demanding that the lower traps stabilize throughout this entire exercise. Then, not allowing the dumbbells to touch
the ground below me. So I have to keep them raised up. So we’re even working a little bit of the
rhomboids to be able to keep these dumbbells off the floor, and integrate them with the
muscles that are right there next to them in the first place. It’s those lower traps. You’re basically doing a shoulder press, except
this time, on your stomach. Finally, we have our reverse trap fly. Once again, light is not going to mean ‘easy’. We’re using a piece of tubing here, for crying
out loud, to get this exercise done, but I find it to be incredibly challenging. The key here, again, is to try and integrate
those muscles of the upper back with the traps to allow those muscles to work together. Now, as I go to pull the bands back – yes,
it resembles a little bit of a cable face pull, but that’s not the goal. The main initiative here is to shrug your
shoulders as you pull back into the reverse fly. Every, single rep go for that shrug and pull
back at the same time. You’ll feel an intense contraction here if
you’re doing it right. As always, the return is key. You want to make sure you come back nice,
and slow to get that eccentric component as well, and then rep out again. You may not be able to do a lot of reps here,
but it’s the quality that matters most. So there you have it, guys. Six trap exercises you’ve likely never done
before. Even if you have – first of all, thank you
for being a loyal viewer – but I want you to break them out again because it’s always
good to mix things up. I promise you, there are better things waiting
for you and your traps on the other side if you do. If you’re looking for a program that puts
the science back in strength, guys, gives you a lot of different exercise options to
make sure you can keep those gains coming; head to ATHLEANX.com right now and get one
of our training programs. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Tell me what else you want me to cover in
these videos, and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days, and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.

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