So you lift, but do you look strong? If like many, you want that tell-tale appearance, the one that shows through suit or sweatshirt, the unmistakable look of strength; take a quick read of this.
The look to which I refer is that of a Norse God; thick, powerful upper-back with large traps and capped deltoids. If there’s one thing the Vikings got right, it’s that their deities were stacked!
Bane, Juggernaut, the Mountain; these are the titanic frames, more than just a muscular physique, that ooze power and strength. Their similarity? A well-developed yoke. It’s an unmistakeable sign of solidity and fortitude because it can only be built by moving heavy-ass weights. If you want to look like you lift, make sure you train the yoke.
This programme was made to set you apart from the typical gym-bro. Sure, daily bicep-curls may build thick arms but they will never make that colossal, almost intimidating appearance of raw power.
Too often the upper-back region is under trained by gym goers, the result being unbalanced and weaker looking physiques. Not only this, but training for stability and strength in the shoulder region with concentrated exercise through all planes of motion is critical to maintaining good health in the joint.
Follow the TEG Traps of Thor workout and not only will you look strong, you will BE strong as well. It’d be great to look like the mighty Thor… but we also want the power to wield Mjolnir!
This programme is the best of both worlds. The undulating variation of intensities allows for training throughout multiple rep ranges and will contribute to both strength and size.
- The primary movements are both performed in the lower rep ranges to build that foundational strength while also developing power and force generation.
- Assistance movements are designed to push into the strength/hypertrophy ranges whilst also building volume for skill and neural pathway development.
- Accessory movements train in higher ranges, concentrating purely on volume for hypertrophy. Here we are chasing the pump and training close to failure.
This Programme should be followed as set out below, making sure to pay attention to the technique cues as they will ensure the safety and efficacy of the workout. This workout should be performed once or twice a week on Upper Body days. First complete primary A and assistance A, then move onto primary B and assistance B.
- 1. Push Press – 5×2
- 2. Overhead Press – 3×6
- 3a. Single-arm Dumbbell Press – 3×12
- 3b. Side Lateral Raise – 3×15
- 4. Snatch Grip High Pulls – 3×3
- 5. Power Shrugs – 3×6
- 6a. Bent over Dumbbell Row – 3×15
- 6b. Face Pulls – 3×15
This is our primary movement for the day, and in this instance is dedicated purely to explosive strength and power.
The Push Press is done much like a strict overhead press, except the movement is initiated by dipping first at the knees and pushing with the legs to provide initial momentum to the bar. Be sure to bend at the knees rather than at the hips so as to maintain a fully upright torso and strong thoracic stability.
Try to the keep the bar racked on the front delts, or at least touching the upper chest before initiating the leg drive. This will ensure that there is no slack in the kinetic chain and will therefore prevent energy loss throughout the lift. Warm up with the bar, moving through smaller rep ranges and light weights for a few sets before loading up for your heavy doubles.
An example might look like:
As an Accessory movement to the Push Press, the standard OHP is great for developing strength as well as thickness in the shoulder/upper-back area.
Drive off the chest powerfully and forcefully contract the traps by pushing your head between your arms.
If you start to slow midway through the movement, remember to maximise your tricep involvement by turning your elbows outward and trying to snap the bar in half.
Single Arm Press/Side Delt Raise Superset
This is performed primarily to provide increased pressing volume and to target the anterior delts.
Hold on to the squat rack to provide stability whilst performing the single arm press. Delt raises are performed strictly with minimal trap contraction. Imagine drawing as wide an arc as possible as you bring your arms from a hang up to 90 degrees.
Snatch Grip High Pull
Adapted from Olympic training routines, the snatch grip high pull is not only a great explosive triple extension, it also allows for a powerful shrugging motion which will pack on mass to the upper back and traps like no other movement.
Take a wide grip and start from a hang position. Bend at the hips and knees, exploding powerfully upwards extending at all three lower limb joints, raising the bar as high and as fast as possible. Shrug hard at the top of the lift by forcefully retracting your shoulder blades. This shouldn’t be too heavy of a motion, but instead it is fast and explosive.
Again taken from Olympic training protocols, the Power shrug is performed with a slight difference to conventional bodybuilding shrugs.
It is performed in a rack and is pulled from resting position (about mid-thigh) powerfully for each rep. The movement is short, sharp and powerful; it is not a slow and deliberate contract. Try to throw the weight is high and as fast as you can.
Don’t be fooled by the short range of motion and low repetitions. This will illicit a great hypertrophy response in the traps due to the sheer amount of weight used. We tend to use at least our Deadlift max so, GO HEAVY! This should be built up to with multiple warm-ups in a similar way to the Push Press.
DO NOT ROLL THE SHOULDER IN A SHRUG! This is a recipe for causing lasting damage to the rotator cuff and is to be avoided entirely. The bar path is always linear.
This dumbbell row will look different to a strict bodybuilding row. We care less about perfect form, and more about powerfully moving as much weight as possible.
Position yourself on a bench or rack ensuring that your shoulders are above the level of your hips (changing the angle of the pull) and that your core is fully braced. Face pulls are performed strictly, ensuring that the elbow is kept above the shoulder joints and your hands pass close to your ears through the pull.
There you go, nice and simple. Let us know how you get on with this programme. We look forward to seeing your transformation from mere mortal to demi-god.