Are You Training Your Entire Traps (Trapezius)?

Are You Training Your Entire Traps (Trapezius)?


If you’re just doing shrugs to train your traps, then you’re not training 2/3rd of this muscle!



When people commonly think about training their traps they think about performing shrugs. However, this motion is only targeting your upper traps. Having a strength imbalance in this muscle can have large effects on your posture and athletic performance. Thus, we want to train and develop the entire muscle for optimal performance and injury prevention.


To get a better understanding of how to train the entire muscle, we must first understand its composition. The entire trap is actually composed of 3 different parts that have 3 different muscle fiber orientations:

  1. Upper traps

    • Fibers directed diagonally upward and toward spine
  2. Middle traps

    • Fibers directed horizontally inward toward spine
  3. Lower traps

    • Fibers directed diagonally downward and toward spine

The key to training each part of the Traps is their muscle fiber orientation because it dictates how our muscle contracts. This concept is why shrugs target our upper traps. They require the muscle to pull upward and diagonally towards the spine. We’re going to break down exercises that research has shown to generate optimal activation of each part of the traps, so that you can develop them optimally!

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