Traps Exercises

Floppy Divers

Upright Prayer Rows

Targets: Shoulders, upper back

Equipment Needed: Barbell

Level: Advanced

Step-by-Step Instructions

When using a barbell, the “wavy” EZ curl bar makes this exercise a little easier on the wrist joints.

Stand with legs at a comfortable distance apart—shoulder-width is about right.

  1. Grasp a barbell or dumbbells and allow it to hang in front of you at the length of your arms. Your palms should be facing your body.
  2. Standing up straight, adjust your grip so that your hands are about in line with the thighs. Shoulder-width apart (no closer) is recommended for wrist and shoulder safety.2
  3. Breathe in and brace the abdominals, keep the back straight, chest up, and eyes focused forward.
  4. Lift the barbell straight up toward the chin, leading with the elbows and keeping the bar close to the body. Breathe out during the effort. Your arms should go no higher than parallel with the shoulders. Slightly less is OK.
  5. Pause at the top of the lift.
  6. Return the barbell back to the starting position, breathing in as you lower it. 
  7. Repeat the move for your defined number of repetitions.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these errors so you get the most from this exercise and avoid strain or injury.

Elbow Position

While lifting, keep your elbows above the level of your forearms. Don’t raise the arms above parallel to avoid shoulder impingement.

Wrist Position

This exercise can strain the wrists, so use only a wide grip (shoulder-width). Keep your wrists supple during the lift, allowing them to flex as needed. Try to keep the wrists from moving down or to the side during the lift.

Back and Torso

Keep the torso stationary and your abs braced throughout the lift—no turning or twisting. Keep your back straight, with the chest up and eyes focused ahead. Do not squat down and up after the initial pose. No movement in the legs should occur.

Too Heavy of Weight

Do not lift heavy with this exercise unless you are experienced and trust your shoulder joints.3 Shoulder impingement has been reported with excessive weight or poor form. The shoulder joint is a very complex mechanism and injuries to it can severely impact your exercise goals and can be slow to heal.

Pull Behind Shrugs:

Take Offs

Leg Shrugs


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