Put the finishing touches on your shoulder and back training with this well-balanced “yoke” routine.
As long as you’re training upper traps for that Dwayne Johnson–esque, yoked-out look, it’s a good idea to hit the other two portions of the trapezius muscles as well as the middle and lower traps. Not so familiar with those? They’re part of the back musculature and are involved in most pullup, pulldown, and rowing movements, but zeroing in on them via isolation exercises promotes balanced development that enhances posture and reduces injury risk.
Consider this workout, designed by Jim Ryno, a personal trainer and owner of luxury home-gym design firm Iron House in Alpine, NJ (iron-house.co), as your one-stop shop for training traps. The first two exercises in the routine—wide-grip upright rows and alternating dumbbell shrugs—hit the familiar upper traps, while cable face-pulls work the middle and lower traps, and Smith machine leaning shrugs target the lowers.
All told, the routine is only four exercises but covers all you need for total trap enlargement.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and shrug one side at a time straight up. Working the traps unilaterally puts more of a stretch on the muscles and activates more fibers.
BARBELL WIDE-GRIP UPRIGHT ROW
“Go two times wider than your standard grip and pull no higher than chest height,” says Ryno.
SMITH MACHINE LEANING SHRUG
“Your upper body should be bent over at a 30-to 45-degree angle,” says Ryno. “Balance is tough on this move, but the linear motion of the Smith machine makes it much easier to perform. The goal is to target the lower traps.”
CABLE FACE PULL
Be careful not to lean back as you pull the handle. Don’t let your lower back do the work your traps are supposed to.
THE TRAPS WORKOUT
Do this routine one to two times a week with either your back or shoulders, or do it on its own.
Barbell Wide-Grip Upright Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12
Alternating Dumbbell Shrug | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12
Smith Machine Leaning Shrug | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
Cable Face-Pull | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12