6 Exercises to Work and Build Massive Traps on a Pull-Up Bar

Are you struggling to build bigger trap muscles with a pull-up bar?

When I started my fitness journey, I know I had a hard time building my trap muscles using a pull-up bar.

But I have a solution for you!

I made a list of 6 excellent and effective exercises that can help you build massive traps using a pull-up bar!

Keep reading to find out how to perform each exercise and get the answers to your pull-up bar and trap-related questions!

How Can I Work My Traps On a Pull-Up Bar?

You can build your traps on a pull-up bar by doing a mix of exercises like face pulls, close grip-pull-ups, and more!

However, it is important to learn that the trapezius, or traps for short, actually have three parts to it.

To build massive traps, I suggest that you do exercises that work on all three trap muscles.

That way, your traps will be more proportionate to your other body parts, become stronger, and look more defined.

What Are the 3 Trap Muscles?

A key part of building massive traps is knowing what exercises are targeting which part of your traps.

According to this study [1], the trapezius is composed of 3 parts, and here is a quick look at each one.

3d look of the trapezious

1. Upper Trapezius (orange)

The upper trapezius is across the upper part of your shoulders. This part of your trap elevates your shoulder girdle and rotates, tilts, and extends your neck.

2. Middle Trapezius (red)

This part of your traps brings your shoulder blades back and towards the spine. It also helps keep your shoulders stable while you do certain arm movements.

3. Lower Trapezius (deep purple)

The lower trapezius does the opposite of what the upper trapezius does. It brings your shoulder girdle down. 

Your trapezius muscle is a huge muscle bundle, so you do not want to only focus on strengthening one part.

To get massive traps, you need to make sure you are strengthening each part

For example, you cannot build huge traps if you are only focusing on working your upper traps.

If you are new to fitness and you are wondering what kind of pull-up bar you should get to build your traps, I have got the solution you need.

You can click here to read my article where I talk about the 5 best pull-up bars for home training<<.

Now, what exercises can you do to strengthen each part of your traps with a pull-up bar?

Keep reading to check out my list of 6 exercises that will help you grow huge traps using a pull-up bar!

The 6 Best Exercises To Build Massive and Strong Traps Using a Pull-Up Bar

You can use a pull-up bar and a variety of exercises to build bigger traps!

Some exercises that you can try include towel pull ups, hanging reverse shrugs, behind the neck pull-ups, and more!

Keep reading until the end to see how I explain how to do each pull-up exercise works so you can build bigger traps!

1. Hanging Reverse Shrug

Scapular Pull Up
Example of how it’s done

The hanging reverse shrug is a great exercise for all 3 parts of your traps, but it is especially good for growing your upper traps.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how you can perform a hanging reverse shrug.

  1. Stand under your pull-up bar.
  2. Set yourself up like you normally would for a chin-up.
  3. Once you are on your pull-up bar, let yourself hang and let your shoulders hang near your ears.
  4. Like you are a turtle poking out of a shell, bring your shoulders up and away from your years and hold at the top for a second. Make sure your elbows are slightly flexed or straight.
  5. Bring yourself back to the starting position slowly then repeat.

This is a great exercise to start your workout because it warms up your muscles while strengthening them.

Depending on your strength, your range of motion can vary from several inches to 1 foot.

For beginners, I would recommend that you bring yourself up by a few inches then increase the range as you get stronger.

You can do 2 sets of this workout with about 6-12 reps each. You can have 1-1:30 minutes of rest between each set. 

If you think that you mastered the hanging reverse shrug, then you can shoot for 10 reps for 3 sets!

That is just the first exercise! Keep reading to learn more effective pull-up bar exercises to strengthen your traps.

2. Close-Grip Pull-Ups

Assisted Parallel Close Grip Pull up
Example of how it’s done

Close-grip pull-ups work your arm and back muscles.

As for your traps, it is great for all parts of your trapezius, but particularly the middle traps.

It also helps work out your lats

According to this study [2], your lats are your back muscles that are located under your arm. Working these parts out will also help you enhance the way your traps and overall back look!

Now here is a simple guide on how you can perform a close grip pull-up.

  1. Grasp your pull-up bar with a pronated grip. Make sure you have a shoulder-width grip.
  2. Breath deeply then brace your abs and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Depress your shoulder blades then drive your elbows straight towards the floor as you activate your lats. 
  4. Pull your chin up toward the bar until your lats contract fully. 
  5. Lower yourself slowly to your starting position.

If you are a complete beginner, you can start with 2 sets with 6 reps each. You can rest in between sets for about 1-1 and a half minutes.

You can slowly increase your reps and your sets when you are stronger.

For example, when 2 sets of 6 reps are too easy for you, then you can step up your game by doing 3 sets of 6 reps or 2 sets of 8 reps, etc.

Do not be afraid to listen to your body when it comes to rest. Remember, resting can help you have a better form.

When you have better form, you can focus on working out your muscles more while wisely using your energy, which leads to better results. 

According to this study [3], proper form and technique can help prevent injuries, too.

Are you wondering what is next up on the list of exercises? Keep reading to find out!

3. Behind the Neck Pull-Ups

File:BTNpullup.gif - Wikimedia Commons
Example of how it’s done

Again, this exercise is a great workout for building your overall back muscles.

However, this is especially good for your upper traps!

Are you wondering how you can do a behind the neck pull-up? You do not have to wonder.

Here is to do behind the neck pull-ups:

  1. In a prone grip, set up your hands outside shoulder width.
  2. Next, tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Pull your shoulders back then pull them down.
  4. Use your arms to pull until your bar touches your traps behind your neck. Hold the position for around half a second.
  5. Go back down the starting position. Make sure that you are doing it slowly and controlled. 
  6. Keep a hollow body position then repeat for the next rep.

It is important to remember that your neck should stay straight. You do not want your neck to be forward because it can be dangerous and cause injury. 

You do not want to strain yourself too much either. Try to focus on your form and muscles without going all out with high-intensity.

Instead, you want to make sure that you are doing enough reps instead.

I would recommend most people to start with 3-6 reps for 2 sets with around 1-1:30 minutes of rest between each set.

Of course, if you have mastered this exercise (or have enough strength), then you can increase your reps to 6-12 and sets to 3-4.

Just always remember to give yourself a break between sets. Rushing into another set could mean you have bad form, which can be dangerous, especially for behind the bar pull-ups.

My pull-up bar

If you want a solid pull-up bar to perform these exercises, then you should click here to check out my favorite door home pull-up bar<<.

This is one of my favorite pull-up bars that I like to use to grow huge traps. A bonus is that this pull-up bar can support up to 300-lb. in weight!

4. Overhead Trap Raises

The one and the only Jeff…

This is a great exercise that targets your upper and middle traps.

All you need is a pull-up bar and a resistance band!

If you wanna try out this exercise but do not own a resistance band, there is no need to worry.

Some of my resistance bands

You can click here to check my favorite resistance bands I use daily <<

These are great because they are designed to not snap and are professional grade quality!

Here is how you can do Overhead Trap Raises using resistance bands Step by Step:

  1. Loop your resistance band around the pull-up bar.
  2. Grab the pull-up bar using both hands wider than shoulders and keep them at head’s height
  3. Take a couple of steps back until you feel enough resistance
  4. Keeping your arms straight, raise your arms above your head and pull backward as much as you can. You will basically be moving from a horizontal line to a vertical one using your hands
  5. Slowly bring your arms back down to the starting position, making sure you don’t lose the resistance.
  6. Repeat for the next rep.

You can do this exercise for 3 sets with 6-12 reps per set.

The work out plan is not over yet! Keep reading to see the other exercises I have in store for you.

5. Face Pull Ups

Resistance Band Face Pull | Unapologetically Strong
Example of how it’s done

Here is another fantastic way to work your traps to make them huge with a resistance band and pull-up bar!

Don’t own any resistance bands? Click here to check my favorite ones I used daily!

It targets really well your middle and lower traps.

Example

Here is how you can do a face pull using a pull-up bar and resistance band.

  1. Wrap your resistance band around your pull up bar. Make sure it is secure and at about the same height as your head.
  2. Use both hands and a wide grip to grasp your band.
  3. Pull your resistance band towards your nose while you tightly keep your shoulder blades together and your forearms are 90 degrees from your upper arms.

When you do this, make sure your upper arms are parallel to your floor.

You can do 3 sets of this exercise with a minimum of 6 reps per set.

6. Towel Pull Ups

Example

And last but not least are towel pull-ups! This is great for your entire back, especially for your grip and upper and middle traps.

Here is a quick guide on how you can do a towel pull up.

  1. Loop your medium-sized towel around your pull-up bar.
  2. Grasp both ends of the towel firmly.
  3. Let your arm fully extended.
  4. Pull yourself upwards while keeping your shoulders away from your ears and downwards until your chin clears your bar.
  5. Once you clear the bar, pause for a second.
  6. Lower yourself slowly to your starting position then repeat.

You can do 3 sets of this with a minimum of 6 reps per set. (aim for 10-12)

If you still have many questions about building massive traps with a pull-up bar, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

How Often Should I Do These Exercises?

You can add these exercises to your full-body workout routine and perform them at least 2 to 3 times a week.

Remember, rest days are just as important as your workout days, so do not try to push yourself too hard, especially if you are just starting out.

This study [4] states that 1-2 days of rest between your workouts is ideal.

Giving your body a break is crucial because rest days are when your muscles heal.

When you work out, you create microscopic tears in your muscles. So when you rest, you are giving your body the chance to rebuild those muscles to make them bigger and stronger!

Plus, rest also rebuilds your connective tissue, bones, and nerves!

So now that I have talked about how often you should work out, you might be wondering if this is enough to build your traps. Keep reading to find out.

Are These Exercises Enough to Build Huge Traps? 

Yes, these exercises can help you build huge traps

However, that does not mean you have to only stick to the 6 exercises above, especially if you feel like you have lots of energy left and want to push yourself.

I would highly suggest that you do these types of pull-ups with other exercises.

I recommend that you add these pull-up exercises to your full-body workout routine that you can do several times a week. 

Now that we got over all the details, you might be wondering how long will it take for you to see results for all your hard work? 

Continue reading to find out the truth…

How Long Will It Take for Me to See Results?

Most people can see some results of more defined and stronger traps in as quick as a few weeks.

You can even get some pretty good results after 6-8 weeks if you are focused on your training and follow a good diet.

However, it is important to remember that everyone is different. 

You might see results faster because you have a naturally athletic build. It could also take you a bit longer to see results if it is hard for your body to build muscle.

Although I believe that you can see pretty fast results when you stay determined and focused.

You can see a huge difference in your traps and overall physique in 3 to 4 months if you are dedicated to your training.

All in All

Training your traps to become stronger and have a bigger upper back can totally be done using a pull-up bar.

By following the tips and exercises that I listed above, you can see some amazing results pretty quickly as long as you put some effort into it!

If you want to learn more about pull-up bars to enhance your workouts, you can check out my other articles.

Remember to always remain focused on your goals and you can totally achieve them!

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