Traps are like calves, a very hard muscle to work out since it supports and ties in to your back and shoulders. It is always working so as such, it takes a lot to stimulate it to grow.
One way to hit traps is by doing different exercises, speed, set/rep combo’s and angles. I did a post on reverse shrugs here.
This post is to show you the difference between a regular shrug which is what over 99% of the public does, and an Olympic style shrug. The latter is very effective in that it allows you to use much heavier weights to bring about growth, and to also rep out in the 20-30 rep or beyond range. Olympic style shrugs can be brutal and felt for days later.
As I mentioned, most people perform them in a slow controlled fashion. That is ok but it is best to combine the normal way of doing them with the Olympic style trap shrug.
So what is an Olympic style shrug?
Well as most crossfitters know, one of the keys to a strong clean is a strong finish. You need speed, acceleration and that ‘pop off the thighs’ as soon as the bar crosses the knees.
Olympic style shrugs helps work your fast twitch muscles thus all three of these components are involved. It also allows you to perform shrugs using MUCH MORE WEIGHT. I mean much more!
For example, in normal shrugs, without sacrificing range of motion which is also important for trap stimulation, I may go up to 275 for ten slow reps. In Olympic style shrugs, I work up to 405 pounds for up to 20 reps!
In the video I perform five reps in the style that most people use; slow, controlled with a squeeze at the top. It is then followed by 10 explosive Olympic style reps, then back to five reps the old fashion way and I finish with 10 explosive reps again.
These explosive reps creates quite a burn when using heavy weights for 20-30 reps.
So when working out traps, I usually perform two to three exercises, 3-4 sets using different angles, weight and speed. I rest very little between sets, 45 seconds max, most of the time 30 seconds. You want to work out the muscles and the fluids between the muscle cells. Short rest intervals accomplish this.
Trap work is a great way to give the illusion that your shoulders are bigger and to be…Fit Forlife!