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    Registered User BadGaskets350's Avatar
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    Favorite exercise for traps and lats?

    Good day all. I'm returning to lifting after taking too many years off and doing it for mostly fitness and body composition, not competition.

    The two muscle groups I'm struggling to connect with are my traps and lats. In both cases my secondary muscles give out long before the target muscles do.

    I have several types of shrugs I do, trying to build my traps evenly (ie, mid/low/upper), but my grip just can't handle it and my traps are utterly unimpressed with their workload.

    Same story with my lats. My biceps give out long before the lats do, even though I haven't done curls in the past 48 hours. I've done wide grip and supinated close grip, as well as one handed pulldowns on the Freemotion cable Crossover machine.

    In order to help here, I'm using dumbells for as many exercises as possible to improve the endurance of my forearms, and I'm doing cable & dumbbell curls in the 10-rep range AFTER doing lat pulls.


    Does this sound like I am on the right track to correct this?

    I've been back into lifting for about 8 weeks now after a nearly 20 year absence.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    For lats, in order to take the biceps out of the equation, I like straight arm pulldowns, and pullovers (preferably the machine variant)
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    Why not just use straps so your grip isn't an issue for traps? They are relatively cheap. Or you can get krato grips which are quicker to put on: https://www.amazon.com/Krato-Bands-S.../dp/B073DYVK7B
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    All I ever really do for traps is a farmer's walk supersetted with a barbell shrug, and those usually fry me pretty good. I like the farmer's cause it trains the grip I really need for my back exercises, real good bang for buck. I used to superset upright rows with shrugs but I never felt like I got as much out of them, the fatigue was less and easier to recover from but I just wasn't crazy about uprights, and actually didn't feel the traps as much as I wanted to. I think the most stress I ever put on traps was from cleans, but the fatigue was just so massive and I needed days to recover from the crazy soreness.

    As far as lats, I don't think anything beats a wide grip pullup, especially done weighted. Personal opinion, but I think they're the king.
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    As you said fave...
    That gives a lot of leeway and personal preference..

    Mine would be :
    Defecit snatch grip stiff leg dead lifts.. With or without a pause off the floor.

    Full trap rom not just upper traps due to Torso angle.
    Considerably longer lat rom via shoulder extension than most other deads, Almost that of a row and more tham most pullovers.

    There is a con to this lift, if you're kinesthetically unaware (polite term for an uncoordinated dimwit with bad form which will be 99% of haters of this lift) you're not gonna get much from this if you can do it at all...

    Or chest supported incline dumbell shrugs and rows.
    Probably your best bang for your buck for hitting your full trap and lat if you have trouble feeling then... Not that you need mmc if you are still doing the movement 80% right.
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    Registered User mdonnelly80's Avatar
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    Traps: deads, snatch-grip deads, DB upright rows, farmers walks, farmers walks supersetted with pull aparts/face pulls/shrugs (etc). Personally, I don't like shrugs but that's just me. Farmers walks have done wonders for me.
    Lats: Pull up/pull down variations. Your lats can handle a ton of direct volume through these two exercises.
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    Deadlifts by far.

    Some guys have a setup with more of an upward back. In their case, it may not be ideal. For me it's more flat off the floor, and my traps tend to get fried from them and have developed quite well from it.

    I think you'll get better results on your traps from deadlifting than shrugs or rack pulls, but that's just my two cents.

    Also, the benefit to grip strength is nothing to discount! I couldn't hold three for reps a few years ago and recently pulled five without chalk or straps. I'm in the school of thought that rejects straps beneath serious weight where they become truly necessary, because it's a weak link that can be trained up.

    As for lats... still deadlift IMO if I have to pick one even though it's not the best way to hit them directly.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever seen anyone do shrugs for traps properly. Most will take light dumbbells and make like they're trying to touch their ears with their shoulders.
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    Registered User BadGaskets350's Avatar
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    Yeah I think the reason most don't do shrugs well is because the actual range of vertical motion on the shrugs that activates the traps is so small that it doesn't seem right. And, people underestimate just how powerful those traps are so they go about 1/3 the poundage that they should be using.
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    As you said fave...
    That gives a lot of leeway and personal preference..

    Mine would be :
    Defecit snatch grip stiff leg dead lifts.. With or without a pause off the floor.

    Full trap rom not just upper traps due to Torso angle.
    Considerably longer lat rom via shoulder extension than most other deads, Almost that of a row and more tham most pullovers.

    There is a con to this lift, if you're kinesthetically unaware (polite term for an uncoordinated dimwit with bad form which will be 99% of haters of this lift) you're not gonna get much from this if you can do it at all...

    Or chest supported incline dumbell shrugs and rows.
    Probably your best bang for your buck for hitting your full trap and lat if you have trouble feeling then... Not that you need mmc if you are still doing the movement 80% right.
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    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    This guy has some interesting stuff for traps

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    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    This guy has some interesting stuff for traps

    Weird how lower traps look like spinal erectors
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    Something else to chew on:

    When I was training for and competing in the Highland Games, I tossed power snatches and power cleans into my 5/3/1 programming. Those, coupled with deads, left me with the thickest traps I've ever had. I'm not suggesting that someone toss in those lifts JUST to build their traps but, once you learn them, they're fantastic exercises for many reasons.
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    For Eli (I cannot quote, forum error)


    Yeah, deadlift can be great for traps.
    I don't know about lats, though.
    But I would put farmer walks on the first place.
    At least in my case, the traps and the forearms get more fried with farmer walks. A little concerned about spinal compression, but I try to do some dead hangs now and then.

    When you talk about straps, what type of straps are you talking about? All of them?
    Because, for example, I have the simple ones, and I don't feel that take take the grip out of the ecuation, they just help a little. And I don't see why my grip should be a limited factor when I am trying to grow my erectors and my traps with a deadlift, especially since my goal is pure hypertrophy.



    I never tried these, with a hook, I assume these are much better for taking the grip out of the ecuation.
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    Registered User snailsrus's Avatar
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    Lats: pull ups, chip ups,

    bench —-> like srsly how am I the only one mentioning this?, if you power lift you use lats for bench

    Traps: dl, rack pulls, upright rows, face pulls

    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    For Eli (I cannot quote, forum error)


    Yeah, deadlift can be great for traps.
    I don't know about lats, though.
    But I would put farmer walks on the first place.
    At least in my case, the traps and the forearms get more fried with farmer walks. A little concerned about spinal compression, but I try to do some dead hangs now and then.

    When you talk about straps, what type of straps are you talking about? All of them?
    Because, for example, I have the simple ones, and I don't feel that take take the grip out of the ecuation, they just help a little. And I don't see why my grip should be a limited factor when I am trying to grow my erectors and my traps with a deadlift, especially since my goal is pure hypertrophy.



    I never tried these, with a hook, I assume these are much better for taking the grip out of the ecuation.
    the hook ones are just silly…. I can’t image they would actually be any good. My strength has never exceeded my grip then again I only deadlift a little over twice my body weight. I use reverse grip though. All my meets are raw and I only use a belt. I don’t use knee wraps

    I can’t imagine the hooks are good for your wrists, can bare that much weight or are the safe option, the bar could just pop out
    Last edited by snailsrus; 09-03-2021 at 01:05 AM.
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    Lats - weighted pullups - but the lat prayer is really starting to grow on me

    Traps - overhead shrug. This exercise fixed a problem I had had in my shoulder for years - almost overnight.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Lats - weighted pullups - but the lat prayer is really starting to grow on me

    Traps - overhead shrug. This exercise fixed a problem I had had in my shoulder for years - almost overnight.
    Ive been doing the lat prayer for years but had no idea that’s what it was called till I just googled it, lol
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    Ive been doing the lat prayer for years but had no idea that’s what it was called till I just googled it, lol
    I thought it was redundant with pullups - until I read about the idea of stretch mediated hypertrophy. So the part where you lean in at the top of the movement is what makes it have a better ROM than pullups. Is that how you've been doing it?
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    bench —-> like srsly how am I the only one mentioning this?, if you power lift you use lats for bench

    You use mostly chest, triceps, delts.
    Sure, you need some lats to stabilize the shoulders, but are there people who cannot bench press enough because they don't have enough lat strength?
    And are there people who got impressive lats only by bench pressing?

    You could say the same thing about military press.


    There are so many better exercises for lats. Many types of rows. Pullups, pulldowns, chinups. Dumbell/cable pullover. Even deadlift. The lat prayer looks like a kneeling cable pullover version. Or are you talking about the iron cross holds for lats?


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    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    For Eli (I cannot quote, forum error)


    Yeah, deadlift can be great for traps.
    I don't know about lats, though.
    But I would put farmer walks on the first place.
    At least in my case, the traps and the forearms get more fried with farmer walks. A little concerned about spinal compression, but I try to do some dead hangs now and then.

    When you talk about straps, what type of straps are you talking about? All of them?
    Because, for example, I have the simple ones, and I don't feel that take take the grip out of the ecuation, they just help a little. And I don't see why my grip should be a limited factor when I am trying to grow my erectors and my traps with a deadlift, especially since my goal is pure hypertrophy.
    Well, to the extent that the straps help the grip, the grip strength itself would be deficient, however minutely, taking it to mean that it's unassisted by definition.

    While I agree with you that at some point, grip is going to become a limiting factor and bottleneck progress on the posterior chain itself, my contention is that the point of intersection between one's maximum potential grip strength and the potential everything else worked by the deadlift is higher than is commonly supposed - at least I think so. I'm just a guy with a little bit of experience and knowledge. Never competed or studied this seriously or anything.

    So I get your point and I'm not looking with condescension towards anyone who uses them, it's just I think until you've got a truly strong deadlift grip can work up to the same level.

    What is your deadlift by the way, if you don't mind?
    Bench: 320
    Squat: 375
    Deadlift: 495

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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Lots of people saying deadlifts for lats and traps, I’ll just leave this here. Paul Carter explains why I would not rely on deadlifts* for back work, better than I ever could.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CTQRaidr...dium=copy_link

    For lats, work on keeping the elbow close to the body and driving it DOWN. That goes for certain row variations and chin ups/neutral grip lat pulldowns/chin grip lat pulldowns.

    For “upper back” focus more on scapular retraction work when it comes to rows and Pronated lat pulldowns and the like.

    For lower and upper traps I’ve become a big fan of overhead plate raises. Like front raises, incredibly underrated as an exercise…

    *speaking of conventional deadlifts/trap bar deadlifts only. Sumo is even less back, and more adductor. Of course there are variants of deadlifts that work more lats and more upper back.
    Last edited by BeginnerGainz; 09-03-2021 at 12:16 PM.
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    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Well, to the extent that the straps help the grip, the grip strength itself would be deficient, however minutely, taking it to mean that it's unassisted by definition.

    While I agree with you that at some point, grip is going to become a limiting factor and bottleneck progress on the posterior chain itself, my contention is that the point of intersection between one's maximum potential grip strength and the potential everything else worked by the deadlift is higher than is commonly supposed - at least I think so. I'm just a guy with a little bit of experience and knowledge. Never competed or studied this seriously or anything.

    So I get your point and I'm not looking with condescension towards anyone who uses them, it's just I think until you've got a truly strong deadlift grip can work up to the same level.

    What is your deadlift by the way, if you don't mind?

    4 plates!
    Not a lot, I know!

    Maybe I'll try without straps, thanks!
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    Registered User sarahhopcroft's Avatar
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    Exercises that work for your traps and lats I have found are these. I would do the over hand lat pulldown, this is focused on the upper part of your back. I would recommend 6-12 reps with 3-4 sets. Third I would do the seated row, this helps again with a large focus on your lats. I would recommend 8-12 reps with 3-4 sets. When wanting to train your traps I would do a shoulder shrug, with either a barbell, dumb bells, or a machine. I would recommend 6-10 reps with 3-4 sets. You can also do a variety of lateral and forward raises with dumb bells. I would do 10 reps with 3 sets. The last exercise I would do would be bent over raises with these I would do 6-12 reps and 3-4 sets. This workout should give you a good burn and will help improve the size of your traps and lats.
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    Traps: Trap bar shrugs (strict) and rush to upright row. Please note, these are my favorite, I'm not saying the best because upright row rapes about 99% of people's shoulders.

    Lats: Pullovers rush to close grip chin-ups (or pull downs in most people's cases). These IMO really are the best. If I knew a better exercise, I'd do them. Also I do decline pullovers which feel a million times better.

    If you don't know the Jones rush method, basically you do an isolation of the target muscle group and really nail it. Then you rush to a compound that still targets the same muscle group, but there are minor muscle groups there, which assist the major group to pushing past failure. It's really hard, it made Arnie cry, so you know it's good.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Why not just use straps so your grip isn't an issue for traps? They are relatively cheap. Or you can get krato grips which are quicker to put on: https://www.amazon.com/Krato-Bands-S.../dp/B073DYVK7B
    You're brave to mention straps around here. I love them, most people seethe when they hear about them.

    Ironically, I think they increase forearm strength a lot, simply because they prevent overtraining.
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    You're brave to mention straps around here. I love them, most people seethe when they hear about them.

    Ironically, I think they increase forearm strength a lot, simply because they prevent overtraining.
    Agreed
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    Registered User JoeDelts's Avatar
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    Dumbbell rows can be done to hit either lats or the mid-back/traps.
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    Just wanted to update everyone with some things I've discovered, success I've had, largely as a result of this thread.

    First, for traps, I needed to get straps to help hold heavier weight. The past week I've been doing much heavier weights. Farmer's walk with 100-130lbs, snatch grip deadlift, and power shrugs. This made a world of difference and I've finally been able to go home feeling that my traps got a proper workout.


    Second, for lats, I needed to learn better form, mostly keeping chest out/high doing lat pulldowns. Also, found that using the close-grip double-D type grips really helped isolate them. I never felt that connection like that before trying this.
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