Do Pull-Ups Work Traps?

Do Pull-Ups Work Traps

Each exercise in your training routine targets a specific muscle or group of muscles.

If you are wondering about effective pull-up exercises and do pull-ups target your traps directly? You have come on right place.

There are a few pull-up variations, and their responses are also different, giving this article a read for a better understanding.

Do Pull-Ups Work Traps?

There are variations in pull-ups, but it differs from chin-ups. Your traps have three parts; focus on the exercises which target all three trap muscle regions.

Pull-ups significantly involve traps, but just as a secondary muscle, that means to some extent, pull-ups can strengthen your traps.

Why Do You Feel Traps Activate While Pull-Ups?

If you feel that traps are in an activated state, there are two possible reasons:

  • Either you are performing exercise in the wrong way.
  • Or your traps are weak and can’t withhold the weight of your body.

Pull-ups may seem an easy exercise, but their technique is quite complex. And if you are making a mistake in technique, you’ll possibly shift the weight and pressure over some unwanted muscles.

Even in some cases, you’ll feel your traps are fully involved in pull-ups, which is not required.

Rectify your technique for better results and experience, as traps are only secondary muscles in pull-ups.

Why Do Your Traps Get Sore After Pull-Ups?

As mentioned earlier, traps contribute to pull-ups but not as a primary muscle. But if your traps get tender after performing pull-ups, then you might be performing them wrong.

If it is a normal discomfort, then it is completely alright. Even after regular training, you feel some soreness in your activated muscles.

But if the soreness is beyond the limit, then the chances of muscle or ligament tears are evident.

You must consult a health care professional for examination if the soreness of your traps continues.

How Are Pull-Ups Different From Chin-Ups?

How Are Pull-Ups Different From Chin-Ups

The concept of both exercises are very similar, and fitness lovers often get confused over a slight variation. Both exercises involve your upper body but focus on different muscles.

Also, the palm position is different. In pull-ups, the hand grip is in the pronated state, while in chin-ups, your palms are facing towards you, i.e., the supinated state.

Adding both of these exercises to your training routine will help you strengthen your upper body.

You can modify chin-ups and pull-ups for advanced results by adding weight belts according to your body’s capacity.

Pull-ups Variation

There are slight variations in performing pull-ups. These variations target different regions of traps; for that, you need to understand parts of trap muscles.

Upper trapezius: It covers the upper part of the shoulder. It contributes to the elevation and rotation of the shoulder girdle. Also, it supports an extension of the neck.

Middle trapezius: The central part provides stability to your shoulders during arm movements.

Lower trapezius: It functions exactly opposite the upper traps. The lower trapezius holds the shoulder girdle down.

Let’s get into the detail of a few pull-up variations.

Pull-Ups Variation

1. Close grip pull-ups

Close grip pull-ups target lower traps and activate them. Holding the pull-up bar at a little distance will involve traps.

People mostly like to target upper traps but strengthening and acting on lower traps is equally essential.

2. Wide grip pull-ups

Wide grip pull-ups don’t create any significant difference in your traps. Instead, wide grip pull-ups involve the latissimus dorsi and other shoulder muscles.

For bodybuilders working on getting broader shoulders, wide-grip pull-ups are best for them.

3. Behind-the-neck pull-ups

If you want to target your upper back, behind-the-neck pull-ups work best. Not only it activates traps but also rhomboids, pectoralis, and other back and shoulder muscles.

Though neck pull-ups can put extra stress on your neck, and chances of injury increase, perform behind-the-neck pull-ups once you have attained a firm grip.

Results of behind-the-neck pull-ups may vary from person to person. Just make sure you are performing with the proper technique.

4. Scapular pull-ups

Close grip pull-ups and scapular pull-ups are most effective for lower traps. The technique of scapular pull-ups is different from other variations. You have to hold your chest upward on the bar without bending your arms.

It may not be easy to hold your body upwards, but if you achieve the proper posture of scapular pull-ups, it shapes your shoulders significantly.

Best Pull-Up Variant

Out of all the pull-up variations, scapular pull-ups work best for activating traps and give the best results.

Scapular pull-ups are different from others, but if you want to see drastic effects on your upper body/ shoulders, then scapular pull-ups and close grip pull-ups are the most effective.

If you are not performing pull-ups with accurate technique, then the chances of injury or soreness are high. Get your trainer’s help to correct your position.

How Long Will It Take To See Results

The results depend on the body type and training routine. But most participants observed notable results after performing pull-ups for 6 to 8 weeks.

Perform pull-ups on alternate days as the body requires some rest to recover and respond to a particular exercise. Pair the training routine with a good diet for improved and long-lasting results.

Stay focused and perform different combinations of exercises to attain great strength and a perfect build.


Pull-ups are performed by bodybuilders and gym geeks to get a more muscular upper body and broader shoulders.

Even though traps work as secondary muscles in pull-ups, great results are seen. There are variations in pull-ups involving different regions of the trapezius muscle.

The pull-up technique is critical to get the desired outcomes. To keep yourself safe from injury, work on your posture and technique with the help of your gym trainer.

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