ModernMASS | Traps

March 03, 2015


Throughout my career I’ve assisted many to reach their goals.  Upon first working with USPlabs I traveled as a product educator throughout the Midwest.  One of the most common objectives for those I consulted was to gain muscle without getting too bulky.


“I want to get big, but not too big.”


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Personally I was happy to get “too big”, but I knew it wouldn’t happen.  What is too big? …that’s a topic for another discussion.  Well, it’s time for “Mass” to get redefined.  This series will cut the fat from your current plans starting with our top moves for a massive traps.


Deadlift – A cornerstone for athletic and aesthetic development, the deadlift is a must for any mass routine.  Powerlifter and ProTEAM USPlabs Athlete Luigi Fagiani states not to confuse deadlifts with squats.  “Your hips should be noticeably higher starting with a deadlift than the bottom of a squat.  You are not squatting the weight up.


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Yates Row – A big deadlift needs a big back.  The Yates Row made popular by bodybuilding great Mr. Dorian Yates is also a favorite choice of row from Renegade Training Founder John Davies.  He states: “Yates Rows are a powerful developer of the trapezius muscle as well as the ‘lats’.  From my experience these have a lower risk of injury and more likely to promote proper back movement.  Perform from a 45 to 60° angle, hence above a typical ‘neutral back’ position but do not ‘throw the weight’ with poor form. With an underhand grip, narrow to shoulder width apart and little finger lifted off the bar, pull the barbell into the abdomen.”


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Shrugs – If I had to select a “Modern Muscle” I’d say its traps. Traps have never been bigger in bodybuilding.  Forget the squat rack being taken up as a curl station, the “shruggers” have moved in.   Powerlifter Kyle Sheridan recommends performing heavy shrugs to assist in overall back development and strengthening your deadlift. “Heavy shrugs helped a lot with just being used to holding the weight in my hands. I got up to repping 675 easily on shrugs so when it comes to deadlifting it’s never an issue for whether or not I can handle holding the weight. Being in the locked out position even if it’s with straps, and focusing on the traps can greatly help your deadlift.”


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So what do you do with these 3 moves?  Start with your deadlift early in your workout.  Specific reps and sets aren’t a science (whatever that means) so play with these numbers.   Try starting with 5 sets of 3.  Yates Rows and Shrugs utilize antagonizing muscular movements.  In this case they work well as a superset.  Try adding this to your next back/deadlift day:


Deadlifts 5×3
A1) Shrugs 3×8
A2) Yates Row 3×15


Stay tuned next week as we continue our Modern Mass series.  #LiveModern


Modern Mass Trap Focus


Prepared by Nik Ohanian


The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.

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