Build a Powerful Upper Back with Bodyweight Trap Exercises | The Ultimate Guide – 2023

Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Patrick


When it comes to strength training and muscle development, the trapezius muscles often take a backseat to more popular muscle groups like the biceps or chest. However, neglecting your trapezius muscles can hinder overall upper body strength and aesthetics. Bodyweight trap exercises offer an excellent way to target and strengthen these muscles without the need for any fancy gym equipment. In this article, we will explore some effective bodyweight trap exercises that you can perform in the comfort of your home, helping you build a strong and defined upper back.

1. Understanding the Trapezius Muscles

Before we dive into the exercises, it’s essential to understand the role of the trapezius muscles. The trapezius is a large muscle group that extends from the base of your skull to the middle of your back and spans across your shoulders. It plays a crucial role in shoulder movement, neck support, and maintaining proper posture.

2. Benefits of Strong Trapezius Muscles

Strengthening your trapezius muscles offers a range of benefits beyond aesthetics. These include improved posture, reduced risk of neck and shoulder pain, enhanced shoulder stability, and better overall upper body strength.

3. Warm-Up Routine

Like any workout, it’s essential to begin with a warm-up to prepare your muscles and prevent injuries. A dynamic warm-up comprising arm circles, neck rotations, and shoulder rolls can effectively loosen up the muscles.

4. Bodyweight Trap Exercises

4-Point Cat-Cow Stretch

The 4-point cat-cow stretch is a great exercise to engage your trapezius muscles and improve their flexibility. Begin on your hands and knees, and alternate between arching your back like a cat and dipping it like a cow.

Plank Shoulder Taps

Plank shoulder taps not only engage your core but also work your trapezius muscles. In a plank position, touch your opposite shoulder with each hand while maintaining a stable core.

Inverted Rows

Inverted rows can be performed using a sturdy horizontal bar or a set of rings. Lie under the bar with your feet flat on the ground, and pull your chest towards the bar while keeping your body in a straight line.

Pike Push-Ups

Pike push-ups are a challenging exercise that targets your trapezius muscles along with your shoulders and triceps. Get into a push-up position with your hips raised, forming an inverted “V” shape, and perform push-ups from this position.

Superman Lifts

Superman lifts target your entire back, including the trapezius muscles. Lie face down on the floor, extend your arms and legs, and lift them off the ground simultaneously, resembling the flying position of Superman.

Isometric Shoulder Shrugs

Isometric shoulder shrugs involve holding a shrug position for an extended period. Elevate your shoulders towards your ears and hold the position for 30-60 seconds to engage the trapezius muscles effectively.

Handstand Holds

Handstand holds not only build shoulder strength but also engage the trapezius muscles as they help stabilize your body during the exercise.

5. Putting It All Together: A Sample Workout Routine

Here’s a sample bodyweight trap exercise routine that you can incorporate into your weekly workouts:

  • Warm-up: 5 minutes of dynamic stretches
  • 4-Point Cat-Cow Stretch: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
  • Plank Shoulder Taps: 3 sets of 12 repetitions (6 taps per side)
  • Inverted Rows: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Pike Push-Ups: 3 sets of 8 repetitions
  • Superman Lifts: 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Isometric Shoulder Shrugs: 2 sets of 30-60 seconds hold
  • Handstand Holds: 2 sets of 20-30 seconds hold

Remember to rest for 1-2 minutes between sets to allow your muscles to recover.


Incorporating bodyweight trap exercises into your fitness routine can significantly benefit your upper body strength, posture, and overall aesthetics. These exercises require minimal equipment and can be done conveniently at home. Remember to perform them with proper form and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves.


Q1: Can bodyweight trap exercises be effective for muscle growth?

Yes, bodyweight trap exercises can be effective for muscle growth, especially for beginners or those with limited access to gym equipment. As you progress and become more advanced, you can add variations and increase the intensity to continue challenging your muscles.

Q2: How often should I perform bodyweight trap exercises?

You can perform bodyweight trap exercises 2-3 times per week, giving your muscles sufficient time to recover between sessions.

Q3: Can bodyweight exercises replace traditional weight training for trap development?

While bodyweight exercises can be effective, traditional weight training with barbells and dumbbells also plays a vital role in trap development, especially for individuals looking to build significant muscle mass.

Q4: Are bodyweight trap exercises suitable for all fitness levels?

Yes, bodyweight trap exercises can be modified to suit different fitness levels. Beginners can start with simpler variations and gradually progress to more challenging exercises as they become more comfortable.

Q5: Is it necessary to combine bodyweight trap exercises with other workouts?

While bodyweight trap exercises are beneficial on their own, combining them with other exercises that target different muscle groups can lead to more comprehensive strength and muscle development. It’s essential to have a well-rounded workout routine.

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