At Home Shoulder and Trap Exercises

trap exercises

Shoulder and Trap Workout for “Boulder Shoulders”

Want to hit the shoulders? Need a traps workout? Our next installment of “The DIY At-Home Exercise Series” is a shoulder and trap workout (deltoids and trapezius) – a killer shoulder workout! For the guys out there, having wide shoulders can make you look very formidable and for the ladies out there, toned shoulders can help you rock that summer dress or tank top (or just look great).

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Ready for a shoulder workout?

Besides exercising the back, shoulders are my favorite muscle group to work with.

Having strong shoulders can help you in many aspects of daily life because we are constantly using them to lift objects!

Once again for these exercises, you will need either dumbbells or resistance bands. Let’s take a look at this super easy and effective shoulder and trap workout you can do at-home to achieve toned shoulders. This exercise is easy enough for seniors to do as well.

Front and Lateral Band or Dumbbell Raise

These exercises are great at working the front and side muscles (deltoids) of the shoulders. Make sure to keep your palms facing towards the floor and lead with your elbow (not your wrist) for the most effective workout. It’s important to remember that you only need to bring the weight about shoulder height.

As with almost all of these exercises in this shoulder and trap workout, this can also be performed sitting.

Dumbbell or Arnold Press

The overhead dumbbell press (picture on left) or the Arnold press (middle picture; named after Arnold Schwarzenegger) are two of the better exercises to increase your strength. Perform the exercise by extending through the elbow to raise the weights directly over your head. The Arnold press finishes the same as the normal dumbbell press.

If you are a beginner, make sure to sit on a solid bench with your feet flat on the floor (can also be done standing).

Also for beginners, it may be better to perform the exercise with your back supported against an upright bench.

Rear Deltoid Butterflies

This is one of my favorite exercises and muscle groups to work with. Because they are actually one of the only opposing muscle groups of the chest, it’s important to have strong rear delts. For the exercise, sit to where your legs are at a 90-degree angle (sitting a little higher than pictured). Bring the weight up, pinching your rhomboids and shoulder blades together, really focusing on the rear deltoids.

You can switch it up and use either grip shown (palms facing down or palms facing out)! Once again lead with the elbows, not the wrists.

Band Reverse Flies

This is another great exercise for working the rear delts. I wrap the band around both of my hands to increase the resistance and get a better workout.

Begin with your arms extended out in front of you and move your hands (keeping the elbows extended) out laterally towards your sides, touching the band to your chest trying to pinch your shoulder blades together.

Squat Punch

To really put you over the top and get that heart rate elevated we have the squat punch. Now, this exercise doesn’t exclusively work the shoulders – it also works the entire upper body and your legs as well. You basically get in the squatting stance (feet shoulder-width apart) and lower yourself down 3/4 the way into your squat and hold it.

Hold this for at least 30 seconds, during which you punch holding your dumbbells in hand! This will smoke the quads and your upper body – plus its great stress relief!

Shrugs (bands or dumbbells)

The go-to exercise of the trap exercises (the muscle that gets mainly worked during a shoulder massage, connects to the neck). For this traps workout, begin with your arms and shoulders at a neutral height and palms facing your body. Elevate your shoulders as high as possible to lift up the weight (keeping the arms extended the whole time), really squeezing the traps.

Of course, this isn’t the complete set of shoulders exercises but it’s a good starting point! You can perform all of these exercises together (3 sets of each for 8-10 repetitions) for an effective shoulder/trap workout.


These shoulder and trap exercises are a great way to get boulder shoulders! Start combining aspects of this shoulder and trap workout with some of the bicep, tricep, and ab exercises I have shown you in previous installments.

Pick 2-3 of each and combine them into a simple, quick upper body workout…

It will improve your functional strength and help you burn calories!

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