If you’ve ever had trouble building up the trapezius muscle, you won’t for very muscle longer.
To discover which exercise will produce the most muscle growth we first need to look at the muscle’s function, then find a movement that can provide resistance in its maximally contracted position.
Only by working along the path of a muscle’s function is it possible to bring that muscle to a truly maximally contracted position, and it is this precise position where the maximum number of muscle fibers are recruited.
However, this is only a POTENTIAL for growth stimulation since a lot of exercises cause the resistance to drop off dramatically on or before the peak contraction point (PCP). Think of lying dumbbell flies for the chest as an example – virtually no resistance at the PCP and a wasted opportunity. The Pec Deck can remedy this problem for us very well though.
The trapezius assists in a number of functions but it’s sole primary function is the elevation and depression of the shoulder girdle.
Therefore the best trapezius exercise simply has to be shrugs. These can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell, or preferably a cable.
As many of you have spotted from my recent articles, I’ve become a big fan of working with cables. They provide smooth resistance throughout the rep, and great resistance at the PCP.
An engineer (Jermondo) who recently left a comment of my blog said the following,
“I am an engineer and started thinking about graphs of tension change with distance lift at different points. Of course I have no clue about how the human body works but Cables have a much smoother graph and maximum tension is at the end of the lift.”
I’m not an engineer so it was good to see someone articulate it in this way.
Now back to the traps. Here’s a video I’ve prepared for you guys demonstrating Cable Shrugs. Looking back at it, I should have got my hands into the shot but I think it still shows the movement well.
(Please rate 5 stars on the YouTube page if you found this helpful 🙂 )
Note: When you progress beyond a certain level of strength, you may find lifting straps or hooks helpful to take your grip strength out of the equation and place the resistance on the traps where it belongs).
* Keep your arms straight and focus on lifting the weight solely with the traps
* Keeping a smooth motion, raise the shoulders up to the point where further elevation is impossible
* Hold at the PCP for a second
* Lower slowly and under control
* Repeat until muscular failure
Any frustration about trap development will be gone after making this movement a regular feature in your workouts!