How much do you bench? This common question is the standard to compare one bro to another. If someone is bigger than you, this question sizes them up. “To get as big as this individual I need to bench “x” amount more weight.” However, there are many holes in this theory and of course counter questions such as:
- Is this a max weight?
- Is this the most I’ve ever benched?
- How much does this guy squat?
Although the bench press, or should we say chest is often the definition of size, strength, and athletic function, little credit is gone to the muscle groups that are the Big Lifters. One is the trapezius or traps. This muscle is divided into upper, middle and lower fibers. Although only the upper are visible, training this muscle as a whole can provide not only mass but strength and increased functionality.
- Bonus - Training your traps can even increase your bench press!
One function of the trapezius is stabilization of the scapula. Weak traps can lead to not only a less than brag-worthy bench but injury. If you want to not only look yoked but press some serious weight check out our UltimateMASS moves for traps.
Face Pull – I see these done on shoulder days as a grab-bag movement. However, the face pull is an excellent exercise to activate the traps and strength the lower and mid fibers. Include external rotation of the shoulders at the top of the movement. The internal rotators of the shoulders are often overworked in comparison to the external due to regular punishment from some of our favorite movements – bench press and lat pull down. To balance this and strengthen these external rotators, rotate your shoulder back so that your fist is in line with your ear as you row back the cable.
Snatch Grip High Pull – Switch out the upright row for this super powered movement. With a snatch grip (find your snatch grip here) get into a deadlift position. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and tight, raising your chest up. Now EXPLODE! The weight should reach about nipple height with your elbows higher than the bar.
Overhead Shrug - Leave the hundreds for your sets of dumbbell bench and pick up the “pinks” to build the yoke. If using a barbell find a grip that’s a few fingers narrower than a snatch grip and press bar over your head. Raise your shoulders upward and pause for 2-3 seconds at the top. For males start with 15-20lb dumbbells.
UltimateMASS Traps Routine:
Face Pull - 2x10 Snatch Grip High Pull – 6x3 Overhead Shrugs – 4x10
Add this workout to your routine for massive traps and even a bigger bench. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.
Prepared by Nik Ohanian
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