Best Cross Training Exercises to Work Out Your Trap

The traps or trapezius refer to the long, triangular-shaped muscle located on the top half of your back. If well developed, traps can change the topography of the upper part of your body. These muscles add size to your shoulders and back and improve strength in almost every upper body lift. The following CrossFit exercises will help you work out these muscles and develop the V-shape torso.

Barbell Shrug

Barbell Shrug

This is arguably the king of all trap workout movements. They target the upper portion of the traps which are normally responsible for lifting the shoulder blades. Doing a barbell shrug is simple because all you need is to get hold of a barbell through an overhand grip and let the bar hang in front of your waist at arm’s length. Lean forward at your hip while keeping your back naturally arched. Then, gradually bend your knees and shrug your shoulders towards your ears with your arms straight. When you get to the highest point your shoulders can go, reverse the movement back to the beginning position.

The Dumbbell Shrug


This is somewhat related to the barbell shrug with the exception that it doesn’t stress your shoulder joints as much. This is because your shoulders do not need to rotate to hold the bar. This ensures they remain stable as you perform the workout.

Incline Dumbbell Shrug

This CrossFit training movement places your body on a low incline bench and targets the lower traps which are often neglected. The lower trapezius is responsible for pulling down your shoulder blades. If ignored, these muscles weaken leading to poor posture and making you vulnerable to injuries.

Dumbbell Jump Shrug

This workout hits the fast-twitch muscle fibers which are endowed with the greatest potential for strength and size. With the explosive movement of the jump shrug, more power is added to your training program. When doing this exercise, your goal should be to do each rep as fast as possible while at the same time maintaining control of the weight.

Barbell Behind the Back Shrug

This movement targets the levator scapulae, middle traps, and upper traps. The levator scapulae refer to the rope-like muscle which runs down at the back of your neck. When performing this workout, never stick your head forward or downward. This is because it may result in injury and prevent full activation of your traps.

Barbell Row

Rowing exercises such as the barbell row target the lower and middle traps as well as rhomboids. These are the muscles that ensure your shoulder blades move as you lift weights. Movement of shoulder blades is very important because unstable shoulders can limit your strength in chest and arm exercises. Your rotator cuff, rear deltoids, and upper traps will also assist during the rowing movement.

Overhead Barbell Shrug

Overhead Barbell Shrug

When you hold the barbell weight above your head and then shrug, it works your upper traps. Additionally, it reduces the emphasis on your levator scapulae which are frequently overused when compared to the upper traps. This CrossFit workout leads to a better posture.

Other exercises for your traps include dumbbell lateral raise, snatch grip barbell high pull, dumbbell overhead carry, and scaption.

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