Best Cable Trap Exercises For Strength & Size

If you want to maximize the development of your upper back, Trap, and build up your shoulders, then you must do the best cable trap exercises.

Cable exercises are a great way to target the traps because they allow you to isolate the muscles and focus on the contraction.

Every cable trap exercise works all three muscle fibers of the trap to some degree, but some exercises work better than others because of the biomechanics involved.

This article will discuss how trap muscles can be trained in cable exercises.

How does it improve performance and give you the best cable trap exercises?

let Divin In!

Know More: 20 Best Trap Workout and Exercises for Mass and Strength

7 Best Cable Trap Exercises For Mass and Strength

Some of the best cable trap exercises to add to your workout routine include:

1. Cable Shrug

The cable shrug is a variation of the shoulder shrug and one of the best upper trap cable exercises to build the upper back’s trapezius muscle.

Cable shrugs are one of the most effective ways to increase hypertrophy in the upper back, mainly the traps.

It is one of the best exercises for isolating the upper traps and offers versatility to improve development further.

Cable Shrug

How To Do It

  1. Grab a cable bar attachment that is attached to a low pulley.
  2. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider if you wish. Your hands should be facing down.
  3. Stand close to the pulley and extend your arms in front of you while holding the bar.
  4. Raise your shoulders and lift the bar as high as you possibly can.
  5. Exhale while performing this movement. Hold the contraction at the top for a second.
  6. Slowly lower the bar to its starting position.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Prevent from rolling your shoulders, as this is an incorrect form and can result in injury.
  • Inhale when you lower the weight and exhale when you lift.
  • Try adding a pause at the top of your shrug.
  • Always select a weight that gives you full body control throughout the movement.

2. Cable Upright Row

The upright row is a movement that targets many of the large muscles in the upper back and shoulders, which is key for many movements (see below) in strength, power, and fitness sports. It targets all of the upper, middle, and lower trap muscles.

Cable upright rows are an exercise that nearly everyone can do using various grip widths.

Cable machines keep tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion, ultimately improving muscle activation and hypertrophy.

Cable Upright Row

How To Do It

  1. Attach a straight bar to a low cable pulley.
  2. Grab the bar using a shoulder-width or wider overhand grip.
  3. Stand close to the pulley with your body upright, your shoulders pulled back.
  4. Exhale as you pull the bar up the front of your body until it reaches your lower or middle chest level.
  5. Do not pull the bar up any higher.
  6. Hold for a count of two. Inhale as you lower the bar to the starting position.


  • Bend slightly at the knees and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your shoulders back, chest out, and body upright.
Related Post: Upright Barbell Row: How To Do, Muscle Worked & Benefits

3. Face Pull

Face pull is a cable machine exercise that primarily targets the rear deltoid and trap and, to a lesser degree, also targets the biceps and triceps. Use a cable pulley machine to pull the weight straight toward your forehead.

This exercise prevents muscular imbalance and builds overall shoulder strength.

However, there are numerous variations of the face pull that you could try that may require different types of equipment and setup.

This is one of my favorite exercises. It helps me build a bigger trap and rear delt.

Face Pull

How To Do It

  1. Grab the ends of the rope attachment using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and slightly lean back.
  2. Pull the rope toward your face as you spread the ends of the rope.
  3. So they end up on the sides of your ears just above your shoulders in the finish position.
  4. Hold this position for as a second as you squeeze your shoulder blades together, contracting rear delts and middle traps as hard as possible.
  5. Then, slowly return the rope to the start position and repeat for reps.


  • Stand straight with your feet in a comfortable, balanced stance.
  • Be sure to exhale when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Think about trying to pinch your shoulder blades as tight as possible when pulling weight toward your face.
  • Your upper arms should be straight out to your sides with elbows bent.

4. Cable High Row

Half kneeling high cable row rope is a tremendous exercise that effectively works many muscles, including the shoulder, back, wing, and middle and lower trapezius muscles.

Using this exercise gives people with shoulder issues an exercise to get the benefits of rows.

In addition, face pull is one of the most effective corrective exercises that help compensate for poor posture and shoulder dysfunction.

Cable High Row

How To Do It

  1. Set the cable up at a high point with the rope attachments
  2. Grab the rope with both hands using an overhand grip.
  3. Then, take a step back and get onto your knees, facing the cable machine.
  4. Starting with your arms stretched out and away.
  5. Pull back through your elbows until your hands are just in front of your shoulders.
  6. Slowly return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat f8-12 reps.


  • Don’t lean backward to pull the weight towards you.
  • Focus on the mind-muscle connection to pull down by using your back muscles.

5. Seated Cable Rows

Seated cable rows are an excellent exercise to build middle back muscles, which also work on mid and lower traps.

It can be done with wide and narrow grips.

  • A pronated (overhand) grip tends to target the upper and middle trapezius,
  • Meanwhile, a neutral (thumbs up) grip hits the middle and lower trapezius.
  • A supinated (underhand) grip switches the focus to the latissimus dorsi.
Seated Cable Rows

How To Do It

  1. Sit on a seated cable pulley rowing machine with legs slightly bent and feet supported against the crossbar.
  2. Take hold of the handles with your arms extended and back stretched.
  3. Pull the handles to come as close to the lower chest/abdomen as possible.
  4. Thrust your chest out while pulling with your body in an upright position.
  5. Slowly return the handle to the starting position.


  • Pause briefly when the handles are close to the chest and squeeze your upper back muscles, bringing the scapulae closer.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid knee and lower back pressure.
  • Remember, a rounded back is a wrong back. Keep it straight at all times.
  • Keep your upper back stationary; don’t move your upper back, back, and forth.

6. Cable Y Raises

The cable Y-raise is a fantastic exercise for the whole shoulder that activates all fibers of the deltoid, including front, lateral, and rear delt and Trap muscles.

This exercise combines horizontal shoulder abduction with external shoulder rotation. It also strengthens the external shoulder rotators and the internal shoulder rotators.

While you can do this exercise one arm at a time, ensure you train both sides equally to avoid muscle imbalances.

Cable Y Raises

How To Do It

  1. Stand facing away from a cable machine with a low pulley. Attach a handle to the cable.
  2. Grasp the handle with one hand, your palm facing down.
  3. Step forward into a split stance for stability.
  4. Keep your arm straight but not locked.
  5. Raise it diagonally upwards and outwards until it is aligned with your ear, forming a ‘Y’ shape with your upper body.
  6. Slowly lower your arm back to the starting position.
  7. Do 10-12 repetitions for 3 sets.


  • Avoid letting the cable snap back quickly.
  • Avoid shrugging your shoulders up to your ears. Keep them relaxed and down.
  • Maintain a fixed slightly bent elbow position throughout exercise.

7. Cable Reverse Fly

The cable reverse fly is an isolation exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, specifically targeting the rear deltoids, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles.

The cable machine provides a steady and consistent resistance throughout the entire movement, unlike dumbbells where the tension can vary.

Experiment with neutral, overhand, or underhand grips to target different muscle fibers in your trap.

Reverse Cable Fly Muscle Worked

How To Do It

  1. Set the pulleys to the desired height, usually around chest level.
  2. Stand in the center of a cable apparatus. Position your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  3. Grab the left cable handle in your right hand and the right side handle in your left hand.
  4. Pull your arms out to the sides in a controlled and deliberate manner.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do the move.
  6. Pause for a moment at the peak contraction.
  7. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
  8.  Aim for 10-15 repetitions per set.


  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows during the exercise; do not lock them.
  • Pull slowly so that you are always in control of the weight.
  • It would be best if you aimed to complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Exhale as you pull your arms back, and inhale as you come back.

What is the Trapezius Muscle?

The trapezius is a large muscle located in the upper back. It starts at the base of your neck and extends across your shoulders and down to the middle of your back.

It looks like a trapezoid (a shape with four sides, two that are parallel). Some people call the trapezius the trap muscle.

This large muscle helps you move your body and maintain good posture. The trapezius is divided into three areas, each of which plays a role in executing a specific kind of movement.

The three parts of the trapezius help you move your head, stand up straight, bend or twist your torso, and raise your arms.

As mentioned above, the trapezius muscle is divided into three areas:

trapezius muscle workout

Cable Trap Exercises Benefits

Here are the benefits of a cable trap exercises :

  • Muscle strength & growth: Practising cable trap workouts is one of the most effective ways to increase hypertrophy in the back and shoulders.
  • Stability & conditioning: activates all major shoulder areas, making it excellent for upper body stability and conditioning. Doing frequent shrugs and upright rows will improve your position while protecting yourself from injury.
  • Builds Traps: Traps are tricky to build. There are only a handful of exercises that mainly target your traps. A cable trap exercise works your shoulders just as much as it exercises your traps.
  • Improve your posture. When practiced with proper form, cable trap exercises help build strength in your upper body stabilizer muscle groups, helping you stand up tall and keep your back straight.
  • Stronger traps can help reduce neck pain. Strengthening your upper traps increases the activation of your shoulder muscles, helping provide better support to your head and neck.

Frequently Asked Question

How do you train traps with cables?

You can do numerous trap exercises with a cable to build your traps. Try cable shrugs, cable upright rows, Cable High Row and face pull.

Are cable shrugs good?

Yes, the cable shrug is a good exercise for training the trapezius muscles. The primary muscle group activated during cable shrugs are your upper trapezius muscles.

The cable shrug is a great way to strengthen your upper back muscles, build traps, and improve posture.

How Do I Build My Trap Muscles With cable?

You should add the above-mentioned exercises to your upper body training sessions to build bigger, stronger traps. The upper traps can be developed through common exercises such as shrugs and upright rows, while the mid-traps can be developed through pulling the shoulder blades together.

Do cable rows work traps?

Yes, cable rows do work the trap muscle. Cable rows are an excellent exercise to build middle back muscles, which also works on mid and lower traps.


These cable trap exercises are highly recommended for anyone interested in bigger and who wants to gain strength.

If you consistently do these cable trap exercises, the results will speak for themselves.

Please let us know your favorite cable trap exercise in the comment section below!


Leave a Comment