Trap Workout (SORE IN 6 MINUTES!)


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If your trap workout never leaves you with sore traps the day after, it could be that you did not train them hard enough to stimulate them to grow. Delayed onset muscle soreness is not necessarily a requirement for muscle growth however creating overload is. In this 6 minute trap workout routine, I show you a simple yet effective way to train your traps in a way that soreness is guaranteed the next day.

Here is how to execute this brief but effective trap workout. Start with a barbell loaded up with a weight that is considered heavy for shrugs but not too heavy since you are going to be required to perform 55 reps with this weight. In this demo, I chose 245 lbs, which is heavy but certainly not approaching what I could do for max poundage.

Start by performing 10 reps of a barbell shrug and then immediately follow with a 10 second hold in the contracted position. The key for the effectiveness of this trap workout however is the way in which you move the shoulders and bar on each rep. Rather than lifting them straight up and down, you want to lift up and back at an angle, pulling your shoulders up towards your ears. On the way down, rather than lowering them in a straight line instead let the shoulders round forward a bit.

This extra excursion of the shoulders forward will place a much greater stretch on the trap muscles. This is due to the insertion of the traps being on the lateral aspect of the clavicle and the acromion. As the shoulders move forward, so too do the traps. Combined with the heavy weights being controlled on the eccentric, this is what provides the added stress to the traps and leads to the mechanical stress on the muscles that results in the delayed onset muscle soreness the following day.

After completing your initial 10 reps and 10 second hold, you immediately move onto 9 reps and a 9 second hold. You attempt to keep descending in this fashion until you have completed your final rep and one second hold. If you should finish all reps and there is time still remaining on your running clock of 6 minutes, perform an isometric trap hold for the remaining time if possible.

If at any point you are unable to keep the descent going and you need to put down the bar, you will perform the second traps exercise in the workout, the trap raise. This can be done with a single weight plate just outside of the rack you are doing your shrugs in. Raise the plate with both hands straight up overhead as high as you can. Lower the plate back down under control. Perform 10 reps of this lower trap builder and immediately resume the descent to 1 on the barbell shrugs.

This workout will show you just how effective training like an athlete can be, especially when you are willing to trade in workout length for intensity. If you would like to see how much more impressive your gains could be by training like an athlete for a full 90 days, be sure to head to and get the complete ATHLEAN-X Training System.

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  1. I so going to do this workout on my next traps day…I been bit lazy on my trap workouts…watching this I have to step it up..a been I a rut due to injury..

  2. I have a shoulder that dislocates and horrible posture. I understand i need to work on delts, practice external rotation and to work on my thorasic spine which means lat and back work. Im a woman. Should I do shrugs??

  3. First of all, I want to say I appreciate these videos. They help people like me that don’t have a lot of gym experience. Especially when it comes to using good form to prevent injuries.

    Second, traps seem to be one of those muscles that we under utilize on a daily basis, and a lot of stress and tension rests there. Will regular trap exercises reduce that stress and tightness that builds up there? Will it increase good posture?


  4. Found this challenging my grip more than traps. And the plate raise burned my shoulders more than anything. Traps were still really sore the next day so thanks👍🏻


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