Nothing says power like a big set of traps
and a thick neck. Think about it. When
you're out somewhere and you see a guy with
massive traps and huge neck you automatically
know he's the last guy in the joint that
you'd ever want to mess with. Maybe he's an
ex wrestler. Maybe he competes in MMA. Or
maybe he played football. You don't know but
you definitely don't want to find out.
No other muscle groups instill fear in and
command respect from all those around you
like the traps and neck do.
Plenty of pumped up pretty boys walk around
with decent sized arms weighing all of 149
pounds. An equal amount of guys have built up
a pretty good sized chest since it's the only
muscle they ever train. But big arms and a
big set of pecs do nothing to command respect.
In fact, if all you have going for you are
big arms you are more likely to get laughed
at then be looked at in fear.
"Look at the pencil neck pretty boy showing
off his guns."
If you really want to look powerful, athletic
and intimidating you need to develop the
traps and neck aka "the yoke."
When it comes to achieving the power look
the first exercise you need to be concerned
with is the deadlift. The deadlift packs
size on the traps like nothing else. You are
going to want to deadlift at least once per
week for 1-3 sets of 3-12 reps. Be sure to
use the heaviest weights you can handle with
good form and don't be afraid to use straps
if your grip is weak.
Next on the list come Olympic lifting
variations such as hang cleans, power cleans,
high pulls, and shrug pulls. These Olympic
lifts build up huge traps and can be done
more frequently than deadlifts. If you are
really trying to build up the traps rapidly
I recommend that you do some sort of Olympic
lift variation at least once per week, if not
three times for 3-5 sets of 1-6 reps.
Another great trap building exercise is the
shrug. Shrugs can be done with barbells or
dumbbells and with heavy weight for low reps
and a partial range of motion or lighter reps
for high reps with a full range of motion.
I recommend that you use both approaches for
full trap development once or twice a week
after your deadlifts or Olympic lifts.
With the traps taken care of you need to
move on to your neck. You simply can't beat
an old school neck harness with a plate
attached to it for neck development. Other
great neck exercises are manual resistance
flexion and extension exercises with a
partner or isometric supports against a
stability ball. To do the partner resisted
exercises simply lie down on a flat bench
with your head hanging off and have a partner
drape a towel over your head and provide
resistance as you move up and down. Be sure
not to use extreme ranges of motion on neck
work or you could put yourself at risk for
The neck should be trained two or three
days per week for 1-3 sets of 10-25 reps.
Personally I like to train flexion one day,
extension another day and rotation or
lateral flexion on the third day.
Stick with the yoke building plan for the
next eight weeks and get ready for guys to
start stepping aside when they see you
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