Monster Traps Workout

Massive traps can transform an ordinary bodybuilder into an extraordinary bodybuilder. Build big, beefy, beastly trap muscles now!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Barbell, Dumbbells
Male & Female

Workout Description

There are two trap building compound exercises not listed as a part of this workout:

  1. Deadlift (Back)
  2. Seated Press Behind The Neck (Shoulders)

If you want large traps, I highly suggest that you incorporate both of these lifts into your weekly training schedule. I did not include either the deadlift or BTN press into the monster traps workout simply because I wanted this workout to be a stand alone routine. You can perform the monster traps workout on either shoulder day, or back day.

Traps are a small muscle group. Do NOT perform this workout more than once per week. You will not need more weekly trap stimulation.

Power Barbell Shrugs:

  1. Barbell Shrugs Warmup Sets - Perform 2 warmup sets of 5 reps each. Your first warmup set with be 60% of your working weight, and the second will be 80% of your working weight.
  2. Lifting StrapsYou will need lifting straps or Versa Gripps for your working sets. You could attempt this approach without straps, but most likely your grip will give out before your traps.
  3. Working Sets - Start with a weight that allows you to perform about 15 to 20 reps. Explosively shrug the barbell up for as many reps as possible, stopping near, or at failure. Continue to hold the bar! Take 3 deep breaths and perform as many reps as possible. Once again, keep holding the bar. Take 3 more deep breaths, and knock out as many reps as possible. Continue this pattern until you perform 40 total reps. Rest about 2-3 minutes between sets of barbell shrugs. When you can perform 25 reps right out of the gate before you have to start the "3 deep breath" pattern, add weight.

Dumbbell Shrug & Holds:

You will need a lighter weight for this exercise. I would start with 50 to 70% of your working weight for barbell shrugs. Slowly contract the weight up, and hold it at contraction for 3 deep breaths. Lower the weight, and repeat this rep pattern. When you can perform 10 total reps for both sets, add weight.

Additional Information

That's it. In 4 simple sets you will have destroyed your traps. Resist the urge to add in more work. Eat big and smart, and get plenty of rest.

Monster Traps Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Power Barbell Shrugs (Explosive) 2 40
Dumbbell Shrug & Hold 2 10
About The Author
Muscle & Strength's Content Team is a group of fitness industry experts dedicated to publishing the highest quality articles, workouts and guides on the M&S Website.

37 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/10/2015 - 13:42
Big D

Hi, Steve i'v been working out my traps like everyday but doesn't seem to be growing. What do you think that I can do to help them grow ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/10/2015 - 14:10

If you want to grow your traps you're going to need to give them time to recover. Hit them 1-2 times per week with heavy weights. Allow at least 2 days to recover, more if they're still sore. Focus on movements that move the most weight like barbell and dumbbell shrugs, farmer's walk etc.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/06/2014 - 11:00

Love this workout!!! I get the feel good soreness (ironic i know, but no pain) in my traps afterward. AWESOME!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 02/22/2014 - 04:03

Hi, I need a program for 5 years, bodybuilding Box volume work.
Weight 76
Height 176

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 12:47

what is best for traps barbell or dumbell?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 14:06

whats up Steve. Im about 200lbs and wanting to get more definition and shape (abs). Its been almost 5 years since ive worked out, so what routine you think i should follow. im 5'10'' and i like they weight, but im willing to sacrifice about 15lbs to get the look im aiming for.

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 18:39

I'd recommend trying one of the Beginner routines that are available on the site:

This will allow you to reestablish your form, and won't overload your central nervous system.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 03/06/2013 - 11:38

hey steve i want to get huge traps but haven't really a proper training routine for them any pointers or any specific exercizes that would beneficial?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 02:03

My height is 5.5" and age 17.7 what should i do for increasing height and muscle also

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/06/2012 - 14:14

Hi Mahesh,

Can't help you with height, but with muscle this workout is a good place to start:

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:21

never mind sorry just reread the forum and saw that it said once a week

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:18

how often can i work my traps dont seem to get as much of a burn off of them so was wondering if i could work them two three times a doing your 4/3 split power muscle burn routine thanks

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:45

Cody your traps are worked indirectly with just about every upper body workout. They are dense and very strong but if over worked it will lead to injuries in and around the shoulder area. Always working...(like your calf muscles)
Seated db shrugs, front and rear of body bb shrugs, upright rows, standing calf machine me there are plenty of movements to get the traps to "pop" Mix it up and you'll get the look you want.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/16/2012 - 00:09

so lemme get this straight, you do deadlifts and behind the head raises first then warmup shrugs, then 40shrugs then 10shrugs? then trap workout is done for the day?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/05/2011 - 15:00

What advice would you give to fix un-even lats? My left side is noticeably larger than my right.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/05/2011 - 15:40

Do you have any experience lifting, and if so, what back exercises do you use?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/05/2011 - 16:28

I recommend at least:

--Barbell or dumbbell rows
--Pull ups

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/05/2011 - 16:22

I’m still new to back exercises, I’m trying to find a nice routine that works for me. Most of my workout exercises consist of dumbbell’s and TRX suspension training.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 06/05/2011 - 17:08
carl st-hubert

Seems like a great workout, but do you go up in weight for the power shrugs or stay at the same weight? because i am a running back and i want big strong traps

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 03/06/2011 - 09:46

I know this workout should only be done once a week but should it be done every single week and how long should you continue to do this workout as it is a muscle shocking workout?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 02/13/2011 - 23:01

Hey man I was wondering if it would be smart to do supersede with
Front shrugs
Narrowgrip shrugs
And behind back shrugs ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 02/09/2011 - 15:36

does all heavy weightlifting stunt a 14 year old's growth if he starts to do it?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 10/04/2010 - 04:48

Hi Steve, I saw your reply on the above comment and I was just wondering, what is more beneficial pre-workout or post workout supplements? Right now I only use whey protein after my work outs but I am curious which of the options give the best results.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 10/07/2010 - 09:32

Hi Jordan,

It depends on your needs. I love pre-workout supplements for the energy and focus they provide during workouts. But are they needed? Not necessarily. Post-workout nutrition is very important. You could simply use whey protein and a banana. Don't forget your dextrose/carbs post-workout.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/05/2014 - 01:56

Hi Steve, my question is what are dextrose/carbs post-workout. Are they beneficial after workout and how do they work on your body? thank you

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/28/2010 - 07:27

Hi steve i wanted to ask you something about a supplement it would not allow me to ask in the forum, basically im 21 years old and i heard about testerone boosters that apparently they can help increase size and strength would you recommend me taking them?

The one im looking at currently has the following ingredients;


TESTOFEN™ (per daily serving of 6 capsules: 300mg) Patented Fenugreek Seed extract standardised for 50% FENUSIDE™

19 - Anabol Super Testo Force Blend (per daily serving of 6 capsules: 1565mg) 5 Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone 20-Hydroxy Ecdysterone Avena sativa (10:1 Extract) 7-Isopropoxyisoflavone ZMA (Zinc Magnesium Aspartate)

Bioperine™ (per daily serving of 6 capsules: 5mg)

Also ive heard with some testerone boosters your not allowed to take them with milk still in your stomach so how would that work if you took them before a workout and after the workout you have a protein shake with milk? Would that affect it?

Il appreciate if you can get back to me :)


Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/29/2010 - 15:37


At your age you wouldn't see much benefit from taking a testosterone booster. Your test levels are already very high. I would rather see you run creatine and a solid pre-workout supplement. That will give you more bang for your buck.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 06:47

if i were to add upright rows in a super set with dumbbell shrugs do you think that would be beneficial?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 08:44

Hi Brandon,

Movements like upright rows and overhead presses are good for stimulating the traps. You could use upright rows supersetted with dumbbell shrugs, but I would only recommend doing so if you are working shoulders and traps together on the same training day.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 02:17

Why 40 reps? what purpose does this serve? could u please elaborate

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 08:34

Hi Kent,

The 40 rep sets are burn sets simply used as a method to shock your traps. You are performing power shrugs and using heavy weight, and the combination is very effective and taxing.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/16/2010 - 22:01

hey steve big fan of the site got a ? for u on this the bb shrug behind or in front for the bb shrugs n thanks for all the info n tips

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/17/2010 - 12:31

Hi JC,

For this routine, do shrugs in front of the body.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/14/2010 - 01:32
donovan jackson

why would using a smith machine be better than using free weight when doing the barbell shrugs?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 08/14/2010 - 10:40

Hi Donovan,

Smith wouldn't be superior. Free weights are always superior to Smith machine movements. Smith machines change the natural path of the barbell.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/06/2010 - 17:42

im going to give this a try tomorrow on shoulder/trap question...would u recommend doind the BB shrugs on a smith machine or free weight?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 08/08/2010 - 10:32

Hi AB,

Definitely barbell. You may need to use lifting straps.