The kettlebell is one of the most versatile and underrated pieces of training equipment in your arsenal. Kettlebells consist of a large weight attached to a handle that can be swung, thrown, curled, and pressed. What makes this so powerful, is the fact that it includes momentum and allows you to hit the supporting muscles from unusual angles.
Here, we’re going to be using this underutilized training tool in order to target a highly under-rated muscle group: the traps. Big traps make for an awesome massive back and aid in both pushing and pulling workout.
This five minute workout will target the traps with the kettlebell then, filling those gaps in your routine. It can be used as a finisher at the end of a large workout, as a circuit if you repeat it multiple times, or as a ‘quick’ workout when you’re in a rush. Either way, we’re focussing on long sets here – using each exercise for a minute each – in order to flood the muscles with metabolites that will trigger growth.
This is simply a shrug movement that involves shrugging the weight straight upward with the shoulders while the arms remain straight. Of course, this is going to be hitting those traps directly and if you go for a full minute of reps, you’ll feel the lactic acid building up along with other growth-encouraging metabolites.
Closed Bent Front Trap Raise
Now we’re raising the kettlebell directly upward with the arms straight. This will target the anterior delts as well as the traps, so make sure your head is in the game and you’re squeezing the traps to keep them nicely engaged throughout the movement.
This will build that crucial ‘straight arm strength’ which is so often overlooked by lifters but which can make all the difference
Close Grip Upright Row
Now we’re doing a closed grip upward row. Just pull the kettlebell directly upward to the chin, flaring out the elbows as you do each time. Feel the squeeze in the traps on each rep. You’ll also be training the lats with this movement, generally contributing to a wide and truly powerful upper back… like a barn door!
Now it’s time for the overhead shrug – a very overlooked movement that once again focusses on that straight arm strength. You’re going to have your arms straight over your head and then you’re going to push them upward and out a little, before letting them drop again. It’s the serratus muscles that are really working here, and with practice this will build the kind of power that gymnasts use when performing incredibly moves like the planche and the front lever.
Side Back Shrug Behind Pass
This is three shrugs in one. You’ll be shrugging the weight behind you, then moving it to one side and shrugging. Shrug in the middle, perform the rep on the other side, and then keep going.
AT this stage in the workout you should be really starting to fatigue and this relatively simple movement will now become a real challenge.