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Build Your Traps

This workout will put muscle on anyone

Perform the exercises as straight sets, completing all the prescribed sets for one exercise before moving on to the next. You can finish the workout with some calf, ab, grip, or neck training. Perform this workout once per week and do no other back training, with the exception of a few sets of chinups one other day per week. Follow this program for four to six weeks and add weight as often as you can, as long as you maintain perfect form.

1 Hang Clean

Sets: 2 Reps: 5-6 Rest: 90 sec.

Starting with the bar on the floor, grab it overhand at the same width you'd use for a bench press. Keeping your back arched for safety, stand up as in a deadlift position until the bar rests against the front of your thighs. Maintain the arch in your back and bend your hips back until the bar lowers to just above your knees (you should look like you're about to jump) [1]. Now explosively straighten your hips and knees while at the same time shrugging your shoulders and pulling the bar straight up in front of your torso. As the bar reaches chest level, bend your elbows so that your palms face the ceiling (as with a reverse curl) and catch the bar at your collarbone (your upper arms should be parallel to the floor). Bend your hips and knees as you catch the bar to absorb the impact [2]. Lower the weight back down. That's one rep.

2 High Pull

Sets: 2 Reps: 5-6 Rest: 90 sec.

Set up as you did for the hang clean with the bar just above knee level [1]. Extend your hips explosively and pull the bar straight up in front of your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor [2]. Lower the weight back down. That's one rep.

3 Shrug Pull

Sets: 2 Reps: 5-6 Rest: 90 sec.

Set up as you did for the previous exercises [1]. Explosively straighten your hips and shrug the bar as high as you can, coming up on the balls of your feet as you lift [2]. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That's one rep.

4 Deadlift

Sets: 2 Reps: 6-8, 6-8, 10-12 Rest: 120 sec.

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, your toes facing straight ahead. Squat down and grab the bar with an outside shoulder-width, palms-down grip [1]. Keep your lower back in its natural arch, and drive your heels into the floor and push your hips forward, lifting the bar as you rise until it's in front of your thighs [2]. Reverse the motion and return the bar to the floor. That's one rep. Complete two sets of six to eight reps, and then one set of 10-12 reps.

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