Traps are one of the most overlooked body parts in the entire bro world, yet they’re the ones that most bros want, even if they don’t know it yet.
Having a well-developed yoke is a bros way of signaling to the world that you are not to be fucked with. You are here to do business, steal your girl, and pound beers. All while looking like a motherfucking monster. That’s the sort of signal that well developed traps send out to the world.
We all want to signal that to the world. You can act like you’re cool with your dad bod and all, but most bros would trade in their dad bod for a set of traps and shoulders that signified they aren’t here to fuck around.
Getting traps seems fairly straightforward. Do a shit ton of shrugs with a lot of heavy weight, and gigantic traps will be yours. Except it isn’t that easy. Not by a long shot.
Traps are a lot like forearms, abs, and calves. These muscles receive a ton of work throughout the course of a day just helping you go about your daily life. Because of this, these muscles usually have an incredibly high endurance threshold.
Muscles with a high level of endurance are notoriously hard to build, which is why most dudes have shitty calves, forearms, and traps. These muscle groups usually respond best to a ton of volume, and lots of tension throughout the entire set. They need an unreal stimulus to bring about growth.
How do you overload traps?
Whether you realize it or not, traps are responsible for keeping you upright all damn day. It takes a lot of work to keep your big head from falling forward, fighting your shitty posture, and carrying in groceries.
This is why with traps the name of the game is constant tension. If you’re training the traps without incorporating more overall tension, you’re wasting your time.
What is tension? Tension is short for time under tension, meaning the muscle stays in a constant state of some sort of contraction. Think of a bicep curl as an example. At the very bottom and top of the rep the stress the biceps are under is minimal. Anywhere in the middle is where the stress is greatest. With traps, we want that tension all the time.
Shrugs are the most common trap exercise, and they are fantastic, but they do a relatively poor job at creating constant tension throughout the traps. This is usually because most guys let their arms go to a dead hang after every rep, which stretches out the traps, but relieves them of most of the stored tension.
What if you took the shrug, and made it an exercise that incorporates constant tension however? Then we’d really be talking about an excellent exercise to build monster traps.
Insert the loaded carry, or farmer walk.
The loaded carry is one of the best exercises known to man. It’s highly functional, has a major carry over to real life, builds serious endurance, and is the cure for lagging traps.
The beauty of the loaded carry and trap development lies in the fact that the traps need constant tension, and the loaded carry delivers that tension.
This means that if you’re doing loaded carries, you can’t just pick up the weight and let your arms hang. You should actively be shrugging during the entire “rep” or farmer walk. You should have a slight bend in the arms, and be squeezing the hell out of the dumbbells/kettlebells/etc.
This is the magic of the loaded carry. If done right, the weight is usually so heavy that you’re contracting your traps without actively thinking about. You’re just focused on getting to your end point so you can put the weight down. The entire upper back, but especially the traps, has to work to keep you upright.
If you’ve never done a loaded carry before, they’re deceptively hard. After all, what could be simpler than picking something up and walking with it?
If you’re new to the trap game, and looking to give loaded carries a whirl, here’s your starting guide:
- Don’t try to go too crazy with the weights. Think about using 50% of your bodyweight in each hand.
- Pick a distance to walk that is manageable. Think about 40 feet or so.
- Walk. Keep your abs tight. Walk with perfect posture. Walk fast, but make sure it’s still a walk.
One trip down is one “set”. Perform about 3-4 sets at the end of each workout, allowing yourself to rest about 45 seconds between each set, and after a few weeks enjoy the new look you’ve got in the mirror thanks to larger traps.