Spring Clean Your Traps

Spring Clean Your Traps

You’ve been doing: Shrugs

Switch to: Hang Cleans

Shrugs aren’t a bad way to build big traps, but we know a better one. The hang clean works the entire trapezius muscle, which, apart from popping up out of your shirt collar (the only portion of the muscle you hit with the shrug), extends down to the center of your back and helps you lift more weight on rows, chinups, and deadlifts. Regularly employed by football players and Olympic weightlifters (read: guys with enormous, “mess with me and I’ll kill you” traps), the hang clean also builds total-body power and burns a load of calories.

Starting with the bar on the floor, grab it overhand at the same width you’d use for a bench press. Keeping your back arched for safety, stand up as in a deadlift position until the bar rests against the front of your thighs. Maintain the arch in your back and bend your hips and knees slightly so that the bar lowers to just above your knees (you should look like you’re about to jump) [1]. Now explosively straighten your hips and knees while at the same time shrugging your shoulders and pulling the bar straight up in front of your torso. As the bar reaches chest level, bend your elbows so that your palms face the ceiling (as with a reverse curl) and catch the bar at your collar bone (your upper arms should be parallel to the floor). Bend your hips and knees as you catch the bar to absorb the impact [2]. That’s one rep.

The key is to create momentum in your lower body. Start with an empty bar and add weight later. Complete four to five sets of five to seven reps, resting 90 seconds between each set.

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