Traps, Lats and Back Muscles
Traps, Lats and Back Muscles

How to Tone and Strengthen the Traps, Lats and Back Muscles

As you are getting ready for the summer swimsuit season, you are likely focusing a lot on your tummy, thighs, and butt to make sure you look great. Don’t forget the importance of exercising and toning your back muscles, though. After all, your back is likely to get a lot more sun this summer as you bare more skin. Don’t worry, however, because there are lots of exercises you can do to tone and strengthen your traps, lats, and back.

Exercising and strengthening the back does more than just help your back view look good. These exercises can help improve your overall posture and help you avoid injury when exercising as well as in your daily life. Try some of these targeted exercises.


Traps, or the trapezius muscles, are best worked out with targeted exercises. These will target your back and the backs of your shoulders.

  • Shrugs – Depending on your level of fitness, you can either use the resistance of your own body, resistance bands, dumbbells, or barbells to complete this exercise. The object is to simply shrug your shoulders, holding the shrug and then releasing carefully, with your arms off to your side. Holding weights or resistance bands helps to create more tension.
  • Kettlebell Pulls – Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart, with a kettlebell of your chosen weight in front on you. Bend your knees to pick up the kettlebell with both hands, but then keep your legs mostly straight for the remainder of the exercise. Using both hands in the middle of your body, lift the kettlebell to belly button height, then down again.


Lats, or latissimus dorsi, are best worked out with exercises that involve putting your hands above your head and pulling down. Here are some examples of useful exercises for lats:

  • Chin-Ups – Find or install a secure bar that can hold more than your body weight, for safety. Grab the bar with your hands out wider than shoulder width, hands facing away from you. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar, then slowly let yourself back down.
  • Pull-Downs – Using resistance bands or gym equipment, use resistance to pull the bar or bands from above you using both hands. Bring the bar or resistance band behind your head, and then return and repeat.


To work out your entire back, you are better off focusing on doing multiple targeted exercises as well as full-back workouts. These will help trim fat off your back and tone and sculpt the muscles there to give you a great-looking back.

  • Core Exercises – Many core exercises are great for your full body, including your abs and butt muscles. Core exercises are excellent for your back, and can help you increase strength and balance to be able to complete other more difficult workouts. Planks are an example of an easy home exercise that works out your entire body, including your back, very well.
  • Lying Dumbbell Lifts – Using a bench, lie front down so that your arms are dangling. Grab your chosen weight of dumbbells with both hands. Lift the dumbbells out away from your body, so that your arms are spread out like flying, and then slowly return your arms back down and repeat.

These exercises will help you tone and strengthen your traps, lats, and overall back muscles. This will help you look great this summer when you dare to bare your back, and will help you look leaner and stronger overall. Remember that consistency is key, so repeat these exercises multiple times a week to keep those muscles working and looking their best.