Exercises For The Trapezius Muscles Without Weights

Last Updated on August 12, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer

The trapezius muscle is a muscle that is located at the shoulders and upper back. Bodybuilders especially have to ensure that their trapezius muscle is worked properly to provide them with a sculpted shape in their neck.

Exercises For The Trapezius Muscles Without Weights

However, when it comes to working the trapezius muscle, it’s often associated with weightlifting, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

This is because the trapezius muscle can be worked without weights, making it an easy muscle to work if you don’t go to the gym or don’t have a lot of time to work out.

Whether you have a specific fitness goal in mind or are wanting to find exercises that work various muscles in the body, we have gathered everything you need to know about what exercises work best for the trapezius muscles without having to use weights.

What Is The Trapezius Muscle?

The trapezius muscle is defined as a “large superficial back muscle that resembles a trapezoid”.

It has lower, middle, and upper groups of fibers and is located at the upper back and trunk, and is one of the broadest muscles in the body.

The shape of the trapezius muscle is triangular and can be worked during exercises that focus on the shoulders.

This is because the shoulders promote movement in the upper back which in turn, works the trapezius muscle, meaning that you can easily work this area with or without weights.

Working the trapezius muscle is a great way to get the upper body into shape. This is why it is one of the primary muscular targets that bodybuilders like to work on when preparing and training for competitions.

Can The Trapezius Muscle Be Injured?

The trapezius muscle is not often injured or strained, but it can happen. Injuries tend to happen on the trapezius muscle when bodybuilders are overworking their bodies when training for a competition.

Another way that the trapezius muscle can be injured is if you are forcing resistance in one direction and then moving your body in the opposite direction.

This can cause the trapezius muscle to strain, and in turn, give you aches and pains that will prevent you from exercising for a certain amount of time.

Best Exercises To Work The Trapezius Muscles Without Using Weights

Now that you know that you can work the trapezius muscles without having to use weights, we’ll be delving into the best exercises that will help you to build your trapezius muscles.

Here are the four best exercises that you should incorporate into your exercise routine:

1. Push-Up


Our first recommendation is push-ups as these are a great way to build up the trapezius muscles.

The great thing about push-ups is that there are numerous variations of push-ups to choose from including standard push-ups, kneeling push-ups, or standing push-ups.

Whatever variation you decide, you’ll be able to work your trapezius muscle properly.

Here is the best way to do a push-up:

  1. Start by placing your hands flatly against either the wall or floor depending on what push-up you are doing.
  2. Once you are confident that your hands are firmly in place, lower your body while keeping a straight back and tightening your stomach. Make sure that your head does not drop in order to keep your neck in line with your spine.
  3. When you have lowered your body closely towards the surface, push your body back into the upright position. Make sure that you inhale when going down and exhale when pushing up to promote healthy breathing.
  4. Repeat these instructions 20 times to make sure that you are fully working the trapezius muscle.

2. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Our second recommendation is the shoulder blade squeeze which is a popular exercise that can help stabilize your shoulder and upper back, helping you to gain good posture and reduce the level of strain you may feel on a daily basis. You can do this exercise without any equipment or receive further resistance with a resistance band or cables.

Here is how you can do a shoulder blade squeeze:

  1. Start the exercise by standing up straight to promote good posture.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together slowly and hold this position for three seconds.
  3. Release your shoulder blades back to their original position slowly and relax your posture.
  4. Repeat these instructions a further 20 times to fully work your trapezius muscle.

3. Shrug


The penultimate exercise that you should try is the simple shrug. This is because shrugs are a great way to encourage and promote movement in the shoulder blades, which in turn, works the trapezius muscle. This is how to properly do a shrug:

  1. Start this exercise by standing straight with a good posture.
  2. Lift your shoulders as high as possible. Squeeze your trapezius muscle when doing this to ensure you are working the correct area of your shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for five seconds.
  4. Release your shoulders back into their relaxed position.
  5. Repeated these instructions 20 times to work your trapezius muscles fully.

4. Upright Row

Lastly, the upright row is an extremely popular exercise that is used for strengthening and conditioning the trapezius muscle.

While this exercise can be completed without weights, you can also do this exercise with barbells or dumbbells if you want to. Here is how to do an upright row:

  1. Make sure that you are standing up straight.
  2. Clench your fists and pull them as high as possible while bending your elbows and keeping your hands as close as possible to the front of your body.
  3. Hold this position for five seconds.
  4. Relax your arms while still keeping your fists clenched.
  5. Repeat these instructions 20 times to fully work the trapezius muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Exercise Works The Trapezius Muscle?

When it comes to the trapezius muscles, there are many exercises that you can do to properly work them.

Doing exercises such as squeezing your shoulder blades together and moving them in an upward rotation will promote more movement and activity.

You can also do other exercises such as overhead presses, bent-over rows, and seated rows which help target the muscle specifically.

Do Push-Ups Work Traps?

They may not seem like an obvious choice as push-ups are usually used to work the chest, but they also provide benefits to the shoulder muscles as well and can specifically target the trapezius muscles, making them a great exercise choice.

How Do You Build Traps Fast?

If you want to build your trapezius muscles quickly, then make sure to regularly rotate the shoulder blades as this will generate and promote plenty of movement in the trapezius muscle and help it to grow faster.


In conclusion, there are various exercises that you can complete to work your trapezius muscles without having to use weights. While this may take longer than if you used weights, you’ll be able to notice a difference eventually.

It’s important to make sure that you are doing exercises that are suitable for your fitness level while ensuring that you don’t overdo the workout to reduce the risk of pain or injury.

The great thing about working the trapezius muscles is that the exercises are extremely easy to do, meaning that whether you lead a hectic lifestyle or don’t have a lot of time to fit in exercise, you can do these exercises with ease.

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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