Chicago To build or not to build -- that is the question. Trap building is somewhat controversial among trainers. Some argue that giant traps can detract from shoulder development and create the illusion of narrow shoulders. For those bodybuilders who have problems with shoulder width, excessive trapezius development can be detrimental to winning contests. On the other hand, it is most undesirable to have a wide shoulder structure with no muscular development between the deltoids and the neck. Many bodybuilders, even those winning contests, have this problem.
Of course, it's next to impossible to win a Most Muscular trophy without spectacular trap development. The popular trap pose known as The Crab is considered the standard most muscular pose. Bodybuilders showing exceptional trap development are referred to as having "Herculean" physiques. Large traps are indicative of tremendous strength. The strongest weight lifters and wrestlers have massive development in this area. Of course, giant traps should be balanced with giant arm, chest and shoulder development.
To train or not to train? Build those traps by all means, is my answer. If they respond faster than surrounding muscle groups, cut out specific trap training and they will be maintained by deltoid work. I now use barbell front raises to develop my frontal deltoids, but I find that they also maintain my traps and, in fact, create muscular gains in that area.
The program I am about to disclose is designed to create maximum development in a short period of time! Follow it with all your effort and your traps will swell with solid gains in just weeks.
Do this program following your deltoid work. Use wide grip press behind the neck, dumbbell presses or side laterals for your delts -- then go on to your specialization program.
The primary function of the traps is to raise the shoulder blades. These muscles start at the back of the neck, down the neck and across the shoulders to the deltoids, creating a mound of muscle on either side of the neck. The line of these muscles then proceeds down the center of the back, tapering off in sort of a heart shape, bisected by the spine, ending in the middle of the back. Combined with the rhomboid, and teres major muscles, the trapezius form the muscular detail of the upper back above the latissimus dorsi.
These muscles respond best to heavy weights and low repetitions. The trapezius are vulnerable to muscle pulls, so train in a sweat shirt and don't neglect your warmup exercise!
Do the following program three days a week:
1) Upright Row Warmups - Use a moderate weight. Unlike the upright rows you use for deltoid development where you'd use a narrow grip on the bar, hold the bar with your hands spaced shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and pull the bar to your chin. Get those elbows up as high as you can. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.
2) High Pulls - Load up the barbell to where you can barely make a 6th rep on your first set. Start by gripping the bar as though you were about to clean it to your shoulders, rear end down and head looking straight forward. Stand, and at the same time pull up on the bar, pulling it to mid-chest, then lower it back to the floor and begin your second rep the same way. Use the same weight for 3 sets. By the third set you should be down to around 3 reps. Try to force an extra rep out.
3) Dumbbell Upright Row - Use dumbbells that you can do only 6 reps with. Grip them, with palms facing you, with the inside ends of the dumbbells touching each other. Pull upward and you did with barbell upright rows, keeping from leaning back. Get your elbows high and as you pull up, the dumbbells move apart from one another. Lower the dumbbells at half speed. Do two sets.
4) Shoulder Shrugs - Use a heavy weight on this one. It should be a good 20% higher than the weight you used for high pulls. Grip the bar with palms in and dead lift this weight in good form. As the weight pulls your arms downward, shrug your shoulders high. Try to touch your shoulders to your ears. Then move your shoulders back and then down. Do 3 sets of 6. Aside from bringing out those traps, this exercise will help correct faulty posture.
5) Dumbbell Shrugs - For a final pump, hold two heavy dumbbells at your sides, palms facing each other. Bring both shoulders high as in the barbell shrug. Hold in the shrugged position for two seconds - then slowly lower. Do 8 reps. Rest only a few seconds and do a final set of as many as possible.
Two or three months of diligent training on this program should create some very pleasing results.
Enjoy Your Lifting!