Having a working knowledge of anatomy is paramount when it comes to building a nice physique. Not only will this help you achieve good posture, but it will also allow you to work the right muscles by doing the correct movements.
If building monster traps is your end goal, you need to know how they function. Any time you elevate your shoulders, pull them inward or raise your upper arms, your traps get worked. The five exercises below involve these movements and can help you build thick chunky traps that will make you look like a seasoned pro.
Shrugs are by far the most popular and most widely used exercises to build big fat monster traps. The movement is simple but very targeted, which is what makes shrugs so effective.
Place a barbell in a weight rack at about thigh height and load it with weight. Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand or over/under grip. Lift it off the pins, take a step or two backwards and let it rest against your thighs.
Keep your arms and back straight as you shrug your shoulders as high as possible. Hold for a full second, then slowly lower the weight and repeat.
You also have the option of doing these with a hex bar or dumbbells. You might find it more comfortable using these, so do what feels best.
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2: UPRIGHT ROWS
You can use dumbbells or any bar for upright rows, but I’m going to describe this exercise using a curl bar. I find it easiest on the wrists. In most gyms, you can find these conveniently preloaded on a rack so that you don’t have to bother putting weights on and taking them off.
Grasp the bar with an overhand close grip. Your hands should be placed on the bend closest to the center of the bar. It should feel comfortable at this point, and your elbows should be facing out while your fists are angled towards each other.
Let the bar rest against your thighs, then lift it straight up in front of your body as if you were raising a pail of water. Move your elbows out to your sides as you do this and stop when the bar is just below your chin.
Hold for a second, then slowly lower the bar all the way back down and repeat.
3: STANDING CABLE ROWS
This exercise works the traps and the rhomboids – which reside right between the shoulder blades – so it will help you work another muscle group as well as developing those monster traps you’re after.
Attach a revolving bar to one side of a cable machine at about thigh height. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, step back a few feet and pull back so that there is tension on the cable. Your arms should be fully extended at a downward angle at this point.
Keep your body still as you pull the bar high towards your chest. Flare your elbows out as you do this and try to touch your chest with the bar. Hold for a full second, then slowly move your arms back out to full extension and repeat.
You could also use a rope instead of a bar for some variation.
4: DUMBBELL FULL FRONT CIRCLES
This exercise doesn’t require a lot of weight. It’s more about leverage.
Hold two dumbbells in front of your thighs with your arms straight and palms facing in. Move the weights out to your sides in an arcing motion and start lifting them upwards. As you do this, gradually turn your palms so that they face up. Keep moving the dumbbells in a circular fashion until they are above your head.
Stop when your palms are facing each other and almost touching. Hold for a second, then slowly lower them back down – following the same pattern in reverse order – and repeat.
5: KETTLEBELL HIGH PULLS
You get the best of both worlds with kettlebell high pulls. Not only are your traps getting taxed, but you’re also burning a high number of calories.
Place the bell on the floor and stand behind it with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and get into position as though you were about to do a deadlift. Grasp the handle with your hands side by side and tip the kettlebell back towards your body.
Pull it forcefully off the ground and back between your legs with your arms pressed tightly to your body. Snap your hips to drive the kettlebell forward and follow an arcing motion to pull it up in front of your chin.
Move your elbows high in the air and out to your sides as you do this and stop for a split second. The bell will remain dormant here. Push it back out and fully extend your arms for a brief second, then continue the arcing motion as you push it back between your legs. Repeat for a series of reps.
SUMMING IT UP
Knowledge is power when it comes to building bulging monster traps that everyone will envy. Use these exercises to your advantage and you won’t go wrong. And always remember to honor your body. Only lift weights you are capable of lifting, and focus on using perfect form.