The traps – or Trapezius, is the flat triangular muscle that extends out and down from the neck and down the center of the back between the shoulder blades – looking at a back double biceps pose, it’s the centerpiece of the upper back/shoulder area.
It’s almost always trained with the shoulders (or, deltoids) but can be trained with back and really is, functionally speaking, part of the back.
There are only a limited number of exercises that work the traps:
* The Shrug (barbell/dumbbells)
* The Upright Row
To perform the standard barbell/dumbbells shrugs, raise your shoulders as high as you can, like a “shrugging” motion, trying to touch your ears.
Hold for a moment, flex the traps hard, lower slowly and repeat.
Upright Rows hits the front and side delts as well as the traps. A wide grip makes it hit the delts more. To perform this exercise, stand and hold a barbell at thigh level with an overhand grip – hands about 8 inches apart. Let the bar hang down in front of you.
Lift it straight up along your body – close to it, not touching it, until the bar just hits chin height. Lower slowly and repeat.
Keep the elbows up, they should be higher than the bar throughout the movement.