In my early bodybuilding years I rarely worked my traps. I assumed that these muscles received enough work from bent-over rows, lateral raises and presses. I was fooling myself. It was only when I began competing against Sergio Oliva and I saw his huge traps that I realized how much larger mine could and should be to round out my development for that totally massive upper-body appearance. I stopped regarding the traps as a minor muscle group because I felt that I was trap deficient, and I decided to insert some specialized trapezius exercises into my routines in order to develop these muscles to their limit.
When specializing on your traps, always keep in mind that you should never allow them to dwarf the deltoids. Traps that are too big in proportion to the delts will make your shoulders appear narrower. Huge traps give the upper body a rugged, powerful and massive appearance, but if the deltoids are under par, the result is a grotesque round-shouldered look. I’ve seen some powerlifters who had pear-shaped upper bodies because they did heavy deadlifting and little delt work. Strive for a perfect delt-trap balance at all times.
It was only when I began competing against Sergio Oliva and I saw his huge traps that I realized how much larger mine could and should be to round out my development for that totally massive upper-body appearance.
Because about half the traps are ordinarily not in view—unless you have facing mirrors that enable you to see them from the back—and the upper-front portion is not as showy as, say, the biceps or pecs, many bodybuilders slide into trap deficiency. For the competitive bodybuilder no muscle can be considered minor. Every weak link is a major glaring deficiency. What you can’t see can definitely hurt you.
Tri-set Trap Program
Before I start blasting my traps, I work my deltoids. This warms up the entire shoulder girdle and delivers massive quantities of blood to the area for a total flush-pump.
Because I find it necessary to spend a great deal more time developing my deltoids—to bring them up to my arms and chest—I do the following routine twice a week but only during the last 60 days before a contest. During the rest of the year I do nothing special for my traps.
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