Trap and Rear Delt Tips

New post out for you guys today from John Doe Bodybuilding! This one covers some great tips for your traps and rear delts.

I only want to give you the best diet, training, and lifestyle advice I have to offer!

Now why am I focusing on your rear delts?

Because building up those muscles can really enhance the appearance of your back!

One of the biggest differences you can see between a beginner and a veteran is in their back development. If you want a back that looks like a road map, listen up on how to develop your rear delts.

Traps go hand in hand with training the rear delts so I am going to show you three exercises I do to work these muscle groups.

#1) Plate Shrugs

The reason why plate shrugs work so well is because the plates get precisely in line with your traps during the motion.

This really allows you to bring your traps way high and SQUEEZE!

And when you do the movement, you should picture your traps going up as high as you can (tip: I even bend my elbows a bit to get a full stretch) and then back. Picture your traps coming together and almost touching at the end of the movement.

I haven’t done barbell shrugs in 6 or 7 years and my traps look far better than ever. Plate shrugs are that good!

Use the plates that have the holes in them for your hands. That makes it easier to get a good grip on the plates.

Do about 15 – 20 of these and you will know if you are doing them right because you’re going to really feel it!

#2) One Arm Upright Row

Upright rows with both arms never felt right to me no matter how I did them.

I always felt a pinching and grinding in my shoulders instead of my desired outcome of working my traps.

After quitting them for a while, I recently started doing upright rows again – but with only one arm at a time. This works a lot better because it allows my shoulder joint to move where it wants to move (it’s not locked in).

You’ll see I’m doing these rows with what’s called a fatbell. You may have seen me using them on these videos before but you can also use a dumbbell just as well!

When you do these rows you will want to pull up and then back past your head. Now when you start getting really fatigued from that, you can stop the movement a little sooner.

But with traps I’ve found it’s all about that SQUEEZE at the end!

So you will want to focus a lot on that and pulling that trap all the way back.

I keep my free hand simply on my hip and I focus on pulling the weight all the way up to my ear.

You will find that this is just one of those exercises that just plain FEELS GOOD and leaves you with an overall sense of well being. The movement just feels entirely natural.

On a good day, I will get up to 35 – 40 lbs with these.

Combine these rows with your plate shrugs from above and you’ve got yourself a winning combination!

But let’s add one more…

#3) Bent Over Dumbbell Row Variation

The purpose of this variation on the bent over dumbbell row is to focus on the rear delts.

Often I use 18.5 lb weights for these. Guys, you don’t need a real heavy weight for these!

Start with bringing the weights backwards and you can even turn your hands like a hammer fist at the bottom of each movement.

Then you can do the movement to the sides and front as well. Put all three together and do the movement to the front, sides, and back.

Play with it a little and see what combo works best for you!

Putting it all together

These three exercises are a great way to develop your upper back muscles.

The way your back looks is highly dependent on your traps and rear delts.

Works those muscle groups to build an impressive back!

And stay tuned for more high quality, no bullshit training tips from John Doe Bodybuilding!

Train hard!

– JD

Shredded Ops ebook


8 thoughts on “Trap and Rear Delt Tips”

  1. Hey JD,
    been following you for almost a year now,on and off,and this is my first comment.Anyways, I LOVE barbell shrugs,however…I prefer doing them with a wide,snatch grip.The reason being is that if I grab the barbell with a shoulder width grip,it just keeps rubbing against my junk,have you ever had this problem? If so,could you solve that problem? If I do the exercise with a snatch grip,I just deadlift the barbell up until it touches my lower abdomen and problem solved but this way I can do less weight but that doesn’t really bother me at all.
    I also like doing trap bar shrugs,that’s a shit load of fun,haha.I also noticed that trap bar deadlift static holds made my traps sore as well.
    What made you omit bb shrugs? Was it the rubbing-against-your-junk issue or something else?

    • I ditched them because after seeing the results from the plate shrugs and getting more of a mind/muscle connection from them I realized that I was wasting my time with barbell shrugs. I can pull my traps higher with plates, most guys cannot build their traps because they aren’t working the full range of motion

  2. Hey John, you’ve got some great content on this site, keep it coming.

    More to the point, I know it’s cliche but I just can’t go past deadlifts for building up traps. Granted, I’m a powerlifter so it’s not really negotiable for me, but I’ve found that the sheer amount of tension they get put under has made them grow really well. Even if you’re a straight up bodybuilder, I reckon throwing in deadlifts on a regular basis will make most people’s traps bigger.

  3. Hey John, thanks for the advice. Plate shrugs are awesome. So glad I made the switch a few weeks ago! Gonna try the one arm upright row next.


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