17 Best Shoulder and Trap Workout Routine for Muscle Growth

If you want strong shoulders and traps, these shoulder and trap workouts are for you. Working out these muscles can make you look good and help you in sports. We have a plan that works all parts of your shoulder and traps just once a week.

You will do lifts, raises, and pull-ups. To stay safe, start with exercises like shoulder dislocates.

Brett Williams from Men’s Health made this plan. He knows about fitness and used to play pro football. This workout makes sure each muscle gets enough work for it to grow big. It uses presses to build strength and rows to keep your back strong.

The whole workout takes 45 minutes or less. It uses special moves like super sets where you do two exercises right after another without stopping. This helps your muscles work hard in a short time.

Let’s get those muscles growing!

Importance of Isolating Muscles

A set of dumbbells on a gym floor with space around.

Focusing on isolation exercises is crucial for targeted muscle growth, as it allows for a concentrated effort on specific muscles that might be overshadowed in compound movements. This precision training not only enhances the aesthetic appeal by sculpting individual muscle groups but also contributes significantly to overall muscular balance and joint stability.

Benefits of Isolating the Shoulders

Working out your shoulders by themselves has many good points. You get better at doing the moves and feeling your muscles work. This means you will likely see more muscle growth over time.

Training just the shoulders lets you use lighter weights to protect the joint while still working hard on shoulder muscles like the front delt, side delt, and rear delt.

Isolating shoulder workouts help prevent injury too. It makes sure all parts of your shoulders are strong and balanced. Plus, focusing on one muscle at a time can improve blood flow to that area, helping it recover faster after exercise.

With isolation exercises for your shoulders, you’ll build up strength that helps in other lifts like bench presses or overhead presses.

Benefits of Training Your Trap Muscles

Training your trap muscles can make you stronger and help you do things like carrying heavy bags or lifting things overhead. These muscles are important for lots of movements in your upper body, especially if you play sports.

Having strong traps also helps protect your neck and spine when you do exercises with a barbell on your back, like squats. Plus, working on these muscles can make them look better, which is great if you’re trying to improve how fit and strong you look.

Your traps are not just for show; they have a job in keeping your shoulder blades in place, which lets all the other muscles around them work right too.

Understanding the Shoulder and Trap Muscles

Detailed shot of shoulder and trap muscles in a fitness photography setting.

Understanding the Shoulder and Trap Muscles: Grasping the complexities of shoulder and trap anatomy is essential for effective muscle growth. These muscles play a pivotal role in a range of motion and strength, directly influencing your workout results and overall physical prowess.

What is the Trap Muscle?

The trap muscle, or trapezius, is a big muscle in your upper back and neck. It starts at the bottom of your skull, goes down to the middle of your back, and stretches out to each shoulder blade.

Your traps help move your head, neck, shoulders, and arms. They are key for good posture and make you look strong. When you work on building this muscle, it can also help protect against injuries when playing sports like football where there’s a lot of contact.

Having strong traps means more than just looking good; they play a big role in many strength exercises like deadlifts. This powerful muscle supports lifting heavy weights off the ground by keeping your spine steady while you lift.

Strong traps are not only about better performance but also keeping a healthy body that moves well without pain or damage.

What Does Your Trap Muscle Do?

Your trap muscle, or trapezius, works hard to move your shoulders and neck. This big muscle helps you lift things by holding up your arms. It also keeps your head straight and lets you tilt it back.

When you carry bags or pull something heavy, your traps are doing a lot of the work.

They play a big role in giving you good posture too. If the traps are strong, they help hold you upright and can make your upper body look better. Plus, for exercises like deadlifts where you need to be really strong, having powerful traps is key.

They support other muscles during these tough workouts so that everything works well together.

Top Shoulder and Trap Workouts

Fitness equipment on a gym floor, without people.

Unlock your shoulder and trap muscle potential with our curated selection of top-tier exercises, meticulously designed to drive robust muscular growth and unparalleled strength gains.

From the sheer power of barbell presses to the finesse required for precise dumbbell raises, this shoulder and trap workout compilation is your blueprint for developing a mighty upper body fortress.

1. Barbell Power Press for Power Movement

You’ll build strong shoulders with the Barbell Power Press. This compound exercise uses a standard barbell to boost your total body strength. Here’s how you do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar firmly.

Push the bar up quickly from your chest until your arms are straight.

Make sure you’re doing this right to keep your shoulders safe. It’s all about power, so lift heavy but only as much as you can handle without hurting yourself. The Barbell Power Press helps you in sports and daily tasks where you need to push hard or bear weight on your shoulders like when doing heavy squats.

2. Barbell Military Press for Strength Movement

The Barbell Military Press is a powerful move for building shoulder muscles and overall strength. It helps you get stronger by working your shoulders, trapezius muscle, and even your arms.

Start with the bar at chest height, grab it with hands just wider than your shoulders, and push up powerfully. Do 3 to 5 heavy lifts for five sets to grow strong muscles.

Keep your body safe by learning how to do the press right. Drop your hips a bit as you start pushing up; this gives you extra force. Make sure not to lean back too much or let the bar drift away from straight above you because that could hurt your shoulders.

Get good at doing these presses and feel how they make all of your upper body work hard!

3. Upright Rows Super Set with Barbell Shrugs

Upright rows and barbell shrugs are key exercises to build strong shoulder and trap muscles. These moves help improve posture, strength, and the overall look of your upper body.

  • Start with upright rows:
  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder – width apart.
  • Hold a barbell in front of you at thigh level using an overhand grip.
  • Lift the barbell up towards your chin, keeping it close to your body.
  • Your elbows should go higher than your forearms.
  • Pause for a second when the bar is at chest level.
  • Lower the weight slowly back to the start position.
  • Move on to barbell shrugs:
  • Keep your feet at shoulder width, just like before.
  • Hold a barbell in front of you with your arms fully extended.
  • Shrug your shoulders upwards as high as possible.
  • Do not roll your shoulders or bend your elbows.
  • Hold that position for a moment at the top.
  • Slowly lower your shoulders back to the beginning.

4. Front Deltoid Dumbbell Raise Super Set with Rear Deltoid Dumbbell Raise

Moving from the upright rows and barbell shrugs, we now focus on a super set that works both the front and back parts of your shoulders. Here’s how to do the front deltoid dumbbell raise combined with the rear deltoid dumbbell raise:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder – width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  • Lift the weights straight in front of you to shoulder height for a front raise. Keep your arms straight but don’t lock your elbows.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly back to your sides. This move hits the front part of your shoulders.
  • Next, bend over slightly at your hips for the rear delt raise. Keep a flat back.
  • With palms facing each other, lift the weights out to the sides until they are in line with your shoulders.
  • Pause at the top, then slowly bring them down again. This strengthens the back part of your shoulders.
  • Go back to doing another front raise right after you finish with the rear raises.
  • Aim for 8–12 reps of each exercise before resting. This helps build muscle endurance.

5. Barbell Plate Burnout

Barbell Plate Burnout is a tough way to end your workout and really grow those shoulder and trap muscles. You grab a weight plate, stand straight, then lift the plate in front of you and hold it there as long as you can.

This pushes your shoulders hard and helps with muscle endurance.

Let’s move on to Seated Side Lateral Dumbbell Raise after this intense burnout.

6. Seated Side Lateral Dumbbell Raise

Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and sit down on a bench. Make sure your back is straight and your feet are flat on the floor. Hold the weights at your sides, with palms facing in. Now lift the dumbbells out to your sides, keeping your arms almost straight.

Raise them until they are level with your shoulders, but keep your elbows slightly bent.

Breathe out as you lift the weights and breathe in when you lower them back down. This move targets the muscles on the sides of your shoulders—the lateral deltoids—and helps build shoulder width for that V-shaped upper body look.

Keep it slow and controlled; don’t swing or use momentum to lift the weights! Stay focused on using just those side shoulder muscles to do all the work.

7. Low Cable Pulley Upright Row

The Low Cable Pulley Upright Row is a great move for building shoulder and trap muscles. This exercise helps make your front deltoid and trapezius stronger. To do it right, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Face the cable machine and hold the handle with both hands, palms facing you. Pull the handle upwards towards your chin, leading with your elbows. Make sure to keep your back straight and elbows higher than your hands.

This exercise can be key in helping you grow strong shoulders and traps. It’s important to lift the right amount of weight so that you don’t hurt yourself. As you pull on the cable, think about squeezing your shoulder blades together.

This will help work out all parts of those muscles more evenly.

Best Traps Exercises

A heavy-duty trap bar surrounded by gym equipment in a bustling atmosphere.

For those aiming to sculpt powerful trapezius muscles, integrating our selection of top-tier trap exercises into your routine can unlock the upper-body strength and definition you’ve been striving for—dive into the specifics to elevate your training game.

1. Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift is a great move for stronger traps and overall power. It’s easier on your lower back than traditional deadlifts because the weight stays closer to your body. You stand inside the trap bar, which is a hexagon-shaped bar, grip the handles at your sides, and lift by driving through your heels.

This exercise hits not just traps but also glutes and hamstrings.

Make sure to keep your chest up and back straight as you pull the weight up. Doing this keeps stress off your spine and puts it where you want it: on those muscles you’re working hard to grow.

The trap bar deadlift is a safe way to build muscle if you do it right, so focus on form before adding more weight.

2. Farmer’s Carry

Farmer’s Carry is a top exercise to make your grip strength better. You grab heavy weights in each hand and walk for a set distance or time. Your shoulders, traps, and even your core muscles work hard during this move.

This lift can help you get strong all over, especially in your upper body. It makes everyday tasks easier, like carrying groceries or lifting heavy things around the house. Plus, it boosts muscle endurance so you can do more with less tiredness.

3. Face Pull

Face Pulls are a super exercise for your traps and shoulders. You need a resistance band or a cable machine to do them. First, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the ends of the band or the cable handles with palms facing down.

Pull towards your forehead, then slowly let it go back.

This move is great because it works many muscles in your upper body all at once. Your rear deltoids, trapezius, and some parts of your rotator cuff get stronger each time you pull.

Doing Face Pulls can help you lift more weight in other exercises too. Stick to doing them right, and soon enough you’ll see more muscle on your shoulders and traps!

4. Incline Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie face down on an incline bench. Let your arms hang straight down, palms facing each other. Keep your feet flat on the ground to stay stable. Pull the dumbbells up to your sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Make sure you lift with your elbows and keep them close to your body. Then slowly lower the weights back down.

This move targets the traps and helps build stronger shoulders. It’s key for better posture and giving power to other lifts like deadlifts. The incline position really works those upper-back muscles well! Keep doing this exercise, and soon you will see your shoulder growth take off!

The Best Shoulder Workout Routine

Shoulder Workout Routine

To invigorate your shoulder training with variety and challenge, our meticulously curated workout routine engages every facet of the deltoid for balanced growth and increased strength.

This targeted approach ensures you capitalize on both compound movements and focused isolation exercises to maximize muscular development throughout the entire shoulder complex.

1. Overhead press

The overhead press is a powerful move for building strong shoulders and arms. You stand up, grab a barbell with both hands, push it from your chest to over your head, then lower it back down.

Keep your back straight and use your whole body to lift the weight. This exercise hits many muscles in one go.

Doing overhead presses can make you stronger for other lifts too. It’s good for when you need to push things above your head in real life or sports. For safety, start with light weights and add more slowly as you get used to the move.

Always push up fast but lower the weight slowly and stay in control.

2. Push press

Moving from the overhead press, we step up to the push press. This powerful move helps you lift more weight than you normally could with just your arms. You use your whole body to throw the weight above your head.

It’s like a boost for your shoulders and traps.

To do a push press, start by holding a barbell at shoulder level. Bend your knees slightly, then explode up, pushing through your legs and sending that energy into driving the bar upwards until it’s locked out overhead.

Your muscles work together in this compound exercise — not only does it hit those shoulders hard but also gives a good workout to your legs and core as they help power the movement.

Remember to lower the weight carefully back down after each rep for safety!

3. Barbell shrug

Barbell shrugs work your trap muscles hard. Stand up straight with a barbell in front of you. Hold the bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a second – that’s one shrug.

Do many reps to build those traps!

4. Seated Arnold press

Moving from the barbell shrug, which focuses on your upper traps, let’s dive into the seated Arnold press. This move targets your shoulders and upper back, including those deltoid workout muscles.

As you sit down to do this exercise, it’s key to keep your moves smooth. Start with both dumbbells in front of you at chest level and palms facing your body. As you lift them up overhead, turn your hands so that when the dumbbells are high above your head, your palms face forward.

The seated Arnold press is a top pick for boosting shoulder strength and adding muscle size. It works many parts of the shoulder all at once—like the front and side delts—as well as giving some attention to the trap muscles in your back too.

Make sure you focus on keeping good form by not rushing through each rep. This helps make sure every part of your shoulder gets a solid workout. Using a range of grips can also change how it affects these muscles, making this exercise really versatile for shaping strong shoulders and a sturdy upper back.

5. Seated lateral raise

After working on your seated Arnold press, switch to the seated lateral raise. This exercise is great for people who are not new to training but want to see more muscle growth. To do this move, sit with a straight back and hold a weight in each hand by your sides.

Keep your arms slightly bent as you lift the weights out to the side until they reach shoulder height, then lower them back down.

Seated lateral raises focus on strengthening your shoulders and traps. By adding this workout into your routine, you keep things exciting and help different muscles develop. It’s perfect for shaking up what you do at the gym or at home and keeping your whole body growing strong.

6. Bent-over reverse flye

Moving from the seated lateral raise to another powerful move, the bent-over reverse flye is key for hitting both traps and shoulders. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Bend at the hips so your chest is almost parallel to the ground, arm’s hanging straight down. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you lift the weights out to the sides, up to shoulder level.

This move helps give muscle growth a big boost and makes sure you’re working on good form.

It’s great for men and women looking to build strength in their upper body. When doing this exercise, think about squeezing those shoulder blades together at the top of each lift. This not only works out your rear delts but also gets those trap muscles involved too.

Regularly adding bent-over reverse flyes into your workouts can push your muscle progression forward, making you stronger over time.


You have learned some great moves for building up your shoulders and traps. Doing these shoulder and trap exercises once a week can make your muscles grow stronger. Remember to lift weights the right way and keep adding more as you get better.

If you need help or more tips, look for books, websites, or even a coach who knows about staying fit. Keep working hard and you will see your muscles getting bigger!