A thick neck and massive traps are every bodybuilder’s dreams.
Adding mass to these muscles will help you look jacked, even without taking your shirt off (like Bear Mode). And they’ll add even more definition to a bulky chest and shredded shoulders.
But these muscles are probably the second most neglected muscles in the gym—after the calves, obviously.
And there’s a clear reason for that: A lot of guys think a few sets of heavy dumbbell shrugs each week is enough to pull off this look.
Spoiler Alert: It’s not!
Understanding the struggle of building these muscles, Jeff Nippard released his Neck & Trap Guide. Now, it’s time to find out if this program is legit!
About the Creator – Jeff Nippard
It’s safe to say that Jeff Nippard is the face of fitness for the current generation. And we think there are pretty good reasons for this unofficial title.
So who is Jeff Nippard?
Jeff Nippard is an internet sensation on YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, and anywhere else novice bodybuilders hangout. He’s amassed millions of online followers and is still growing his base!
Casual bodybuilder? Not quite.
Jeff Nippard has been pumping iron (and pretty hard) for more than 14 years. In that time, he’s only gone without the gym for a week straight just one time—so yeah, he’s pretty dedicated.
His hard work in the gym….and the classroom….have paid off several times during his career. That’s why his achievements to date include:
- A 502-pound squat, 518-pound deadlift, and a 336-pound bench press
- Two-time Mr. Junior Newfoundland when he was 19 & 20 (in 2008 & 2010)
- The title of Mr. Junior Canada when he was 22 (in 2012)
- The bench press record in Canada when he was 24 (in 2014)
- A Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (and a goal for a Ph.D. in exercise science)
- Coaching experience in bodybuilding and powerlifting
- Conference presentations at the 2014 Online Fitness Summit & the University of Iowa
- A podcast
But what sets Jeff Nippard apart—yep, more than everything in that list—is that he’s not the typical weight-slamming, equipment-hogging, gym lunk like you might imagine.
Everything he does is backed by science.
He backs up all of his claims, whether they’re in his YouTube videos or his workout guides (like the one we’re about to go over), with studies and scientific data.
Now that’s not something you see every day in this industry!
What is Jeff Nippard’s Neck & Trap Guide?
This Neck & Trap Guide has one clear goal: To help you build some serious mass in those stubborn neck and trap muscles. But how you actually achieve this result is likely far different than what your current routine calls for.
Here’s what you need to know about the goals of this program.
- Trigger hypertrophy (muscle growth) through three different styles of workouts: Strength, hypertrophy, and metabolic
- Boost trap size and strength by increasing volume as the program progresses
- Target rapid growth by capitalizing on short recovery times (i.e., three workouts a week)
- Stick to the same few exercises to maintain steady hypertrophy progression
- Pair this routine with another Jeff Nippard routine for maximal results
- Learn how these muscles grow best (rep range, muscles, and more!)
So if you stick to this workout routine for eight weeks with three workouts per week (one each of strength, hypertrophy, and metabolic), you should see those traps and neck muscles grow.
As a result: You’ll better fill out the top of your shirt, add noticeable definition to your already massive shoulders, enhance the appearance of your back, and improve your deadlift form.
It’s the whole package…if it works!
Neck & Trap Guide Details & Topics
Jeff Nippard’s Neck & Trap Guide is extensive and detailed, but it’s not as long as his other routines and guides….mostly because it’s meant to be paired with another program.
So in the 31 pages of the guide, you’ll find a weekly breakdown of your workouts, a FAQ section, and some tips for how to reap the greatest benefits with the program.
Take a look at the basics of this neck and trap routine.
Okay, you don’t necessarily need to do a warm-up specifically for this routine. Nippard suggests working this program into the tail-end of another one of his routines (like the PPL program).
But if you do decide to do this routine on its own…
- Begin your warm-up with cardio of some sort (no more than 10 minutes)
- Do neck/trap dynamic warm-up exercises (like arm circles and neck bends)
- Add in a few light warm-up sets before the heavier exercises
The dynamic warm-up is crucial, but even more important is how you do these exercises. Always warm-up these muscles with slower motions and circles for safety purposes.
Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you wake up with a stiff neck the morning after!
The Types of Workouts
This eight-week program will have you working your trap and neck muscles up to three times a week (or however many workouts you can squeeze into your schedule).
There are three types of workouts, including:
- Strength (6 to 15 reps per set & a focus on heavier weights and lower reps)
- Hypertrophy (10 to 15 reps per set & a moderate workload)
- Metabolic (15 to 20 reps per set & growth triggered through high volume)
The goal? To target muscle growth through different ranges in volume and intensity. But for the most part, you’ll be aiming for an RPE of between 7 or 9 (just one or two reps left in the tank).
It’s also worth noting that this routine is broken down into two blocks. Block 1 is about locking down good form and securing noob gains, and block 2 is about building some serious mass.
By the conclusion of block 2, you can take a week off or deload and then start over!
What the Workouts Are Like
Each week, you’ll be doing between 29 and 35 sets total, in addition to your current workout routine. Week 1 starts with 29 sets and intensity ramps up until you finish week 8 with 35 sets.
Your workouts will get a bit more intense each week.
You’ll either add an extra set to one or two exercises, swap in a new exercise (especially when you jump into block 2), or increase each workout’s volume.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind:
Variety is not a strong point of this routine. You’ll be doing the same few exercises from week to week with only a little variety here and there.
Nippard explains the purpose of this as being ideal for progression on those primary exercises. It makes sense, but you have to be okay with repetition.
Exercises You’ll Perform
The lack of exercise variety makes nailing proper form and maintaining progress quite simple. Some exercises you’ll see repeatedly include:
- Rack pulls
- Overhead shrugs
- Monkey shrugs
- Plate loaded neck extensions
- Rope lying shrugs
You’ll pick-up on a key trend: Shrugs….and lots of ‘em. You’ll be doing some type of shrug variety during every workout, so you better like shrugs if you want to use this routine.
The Logic Behind It
As Jeff Nippard does, there’s a ton of scientific evidence to back up every claim and piece of advice he includes in this program.
For example, the sheer number of sets you’ll be doing a week.
Though most muscle groups respond best to 10 to 20 reps per week, Nippard reveals that the research shows that 18 sets for the traps and 12 sets for the neck are ideal for growth.
In terms of three days a week (when most of the science suggests two days a week is enough), Nippard has a bit more evidence to back up this logic: The trap muscles’ size.
The smaller muscle size means quicker recovery than muscles like the quads and biceps. And splitting 30 or so sets into three workouts is much more efficient for time’s sake.
And 15 sets on traps/neck twice a week will make an already long workout even more arduous. Plus, you’ll be so exhausted that you won’t be able to give max effort to these exercises.
Nippard also goes over things about specific exercises he added to the routine, including:
- Why rack pulls target the upper traps best
- How heavy you should load up on the monkey shrug
- The length of time to squeeze your muscles for lat raises
- Other muscles activated in trap workouts
Add all of this to the anatomy section, and you’ll leave this routine feeling like an expert on all things neck and traps!
3 Benefits of Jeff Nippard’s Neck & Trap Guide
Little Variety Between Weeks & Blocks
Lack of variety can either be a good or a bad thing. But in the case of this type of mini-workout routine, it definitely has its perks.
One, you can see progress.
Each week, you’ll see that you’re able to push yourself through more reps, add on an extra set, or power through your newest PR.
And there’s another vital reason: Progression.
The purpose of the routine is progressive overload and increased volume to secure steady progression and maximum hypertrophy. Who can be mad at legit hypertrophy?
Who wants to do a routine where you’re always doing three sets of 10 reps? Not most people!
The greatest benefit of this program is that each style of workout is vastly different.
Day one is about building true strength and pushing your traps and neck muscles to their limits. Day two is solely for growth, and day three is about high reps and metabolic stress.
This helps to keep things interesting, even if the exercises aren’t changing too often.
Minimal Equipment Needed
When you think neck and trap exercises, you probably think of those specialized neck machines that very few gyms have these days.
So what’s awesome about the exercises Nippard chose is that you don’t need anything special. You’ll need access to gear like:
- Cable machines
- Weight plates
You can do this finisher routine at nearly any gym in America. And if you don’t have a barbell for shrugs, for example, you can use a cable machine or dumbbells instead.
Even though Nippard doesn’t include substitute exercises, you can add your own.
4 Negatives of Nippard’s Guide
The Reputation of Upright Rows
On day two of every week, you’ll be doing upright rows. And in normal circumstances, the upright row can help sculpt your traps and your shoulders (deltoids).
But they don’t have the best reputation.
Even lifting your elbows slightly above shoulder height can put you at serious risk for a debilitating shoulder injury (AKA: shoulder impingement).
At that point, the size of your traps won’t matter. You’ll be out of the gym for a while and nursing an injury that’ll keep you sidelined.
This exercise is generally seen as unsafe since the perfect form isn’t always possible, especially when you’re focused on increasing the load or reps each week.
10+ Extra Sets to Your Workouts
So the logic behind this workout routine is absolutely sound. The traps and neck muscles respond best to 30+ sets per week combined, so you do 30+ sets a week.
The only downside is the time commitment.
With an extra 30 sets a week plus rest time between sets of one to three minutes, you might be ramping up your time in the gym by an extra hour and a half each week.
Plus, your hour-long workouts will be extended by 10+ sets three times a week.
It’s not unrealistic for everybody, but it could be for you.
Clashes With Heavy Back Exercises
One of the things that’ll stand in the way of neck and trap growth with this routine is the clashing of exercises. Deadlifts and rows already work the traps, though not as directly a shrug might.
Adding 30 sets a week that hits the traps, on top of your deadlifts and rows, might overly-fatigue these muscles and put your volume through the roof.
You don’t want to cause unnecessary soreness or overdo it.
So to remedy this situation, you’ll want to slow down on how many sets of rows and deadlifts you do a week while you’re on this routine. You can always add them back in later on.
Not a deal-breaker, but could be troublesome.
No Refund Policy
The final con is the refund policy….there isn’t one.
Now, if you’re 100% positive that you want to see trap and neck growth and fast, then you probably won’t be disappointed by this routine.
But this routine isn’t for everybody.
You might find that it’s unrealistic for your lifestyle, something you can only find out after the fact. Or, maybe you’re not down with a routine that hypes up upright rows so much.
That’s understandable from a logical point, but don’t expect your money back!
You might be better off with a free online routine first to see if that’ll produce the results you’re looking for. If not, do this one!
Wrapping Up This Neck & Trap Guide Review
If you’re looking to bulk up your traps and neck in eight weeks, then Jeff Nippard’s Neck and Trap Hypertrophy Guide might be the program for you! Jeff Nippard clearly knows what he’s talking about and has put genuine thought into this.
The benefits include:
- Consistency among exercises and reps
- Minimal equipment needed (basic gym gear, essentially)
- Three types of workouts a week to target growth from all angles
But just like every other routine out there, this program does come with negative aspects, like:
- Upright rows (the science says these can be dangerous)
- 30+ additional sets a week (say “goodbye” to your free time)
- Potential for overtraining on a routine with deadlifts and rows
- No refund policy!
So do we recommend this workout routine? Well, if your traps are the last muscle you need to build to be satisfied with your physique, and you have years of training under your belt, sure!
If you’re new to working out, stick to the compound lifts for now.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10