Build Mountainous Traps with Dorian Yates’ Proven Dumbbell Shrug Method

Legendary six-time Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates completely transformed the standards for back development in professional bodybuilding during his championship reign in the 1990s. 

With his signature wide, thick lats and perhaps the most massive traps ever seen, Dorian Yates crafted one of the greatest backs ever.

Even in his 60s today, Dorian Yates maintains impressive traps and overall muscle mass thanks to his intelligent training approach. 

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In a recent Instagram post, Dorian Yates revealed his secret dumbbell shrug technique for maximizing trap growth. Let’s break down his proven method for building massive, mountainous traps.

dorian yates mr olympia
via dorian yates instagram

The Common Shrug Mistake

In his Instagram post, Dorian Yates pointed out the most common mistake people make when doing dumbbell shrugs – not utilizing the full range of motion. 

He notices that many only perform upward shrugging to target the upper traps. According to Dorian Yates, this misses out on thoroughly stimulating the entire trapezius muscle. 

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The traps run down your upper back, so the middle and lower fibers must also be worked. Shrugging upward only engages a partial range of the traps.

Dorain Yates’ Fix: Shrug Back and Up

Dorian Yates‘ solution for complete trap development is to shrug the dumbbells up and back. This lets you incorporate the often-neglected mid and lower trap fibers into the movement.

You’ll feel an intense contraction throughout your trapezius’s upper, middle, and lower regions by combining an upward and rearward shrugging motion. 

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This is the secret to maximizing trap stimulation and growth from dumbbell shrugs.

Lean Forward Slightly

In addition to the upward/backward shrug, Dorian Yates recommends leaning slightly forward rather than standing straight up and down. 

This provides a fuller contraction at the movement’s top and keeps constant tension on the traps.

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Follow Dorian’s Tips

Implementing Dorian Yates‘ dumbbell shrug adjustments will help you target your entire traps rather than just the upper region. Here are his tips:

Shrug dumbbells upward and backward to hit upper, middle, and lower traps

  • Lean forward slightly to maintain tension
  • Use a challenging weight that allows 10-12 reps
  • Perform 2-3 working sets
  • Prioritize excellent form and contraction
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You can transform your traps from average to massive using Yates’ effective technique. Let’s examine why Dorian Yates knows a thing or two about crafting phenomenal traps and back development overall.

Dorian Yates’ Legendary Back Development

dorian yates back workout
via dorian yates instagram

During his unprecedented run, winning six straight Mr. Olympia titles from 1992 to 1997, Dorian Yates set a new standard with his freaky size, conditioning, and V-taper physique. His most impressive body part was his back.

Yates possessed the thickest, most defined lats and traps seen on a bodybuilder up to that point. His back blended huge mass with striations and muscle separations rarely witnessed. 

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Dorian Yates dominated from the rear poses, overpowering opponents with his broad back and tiny waist. Dorian’s back development was a significant factor that made him appear more dominant than previous champions. 

While not the tallest bodybuilder, his overpowering back width and thickness earned him the nickname “The Shadow.”

Train Heavy and Intensely

dorian yates training split
via dorian yates instagram

So how did Dorian Yates build such an outstanding back? He utilized hefty weights and high training intensity. 

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Dorian Yates was a dedicated follower of Arthur Jones’ HIT (High-Intensity Training) principles centered around training for momentary muscular failure.

Yates would use challenging weights – often stripping down the stack – and perform demanding exercises like barbell rows, pull-downs, and dumbbell shrugs with perfect form until he couldn’t complete another proper rep. 

This pushed his back muscles to their maximum capacity each session. He focused on feeling the peak contraction rather than just moving the weight.

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By constantly pushing past plateaus with heavy weights and intensity, Dorian Yates forced his body to adapt by building stronger back muscles. While genetics did play a role, it was his hardcore training style that built the ultimate V-taper.

Dorian’s Yates Words of Wisdom

dorian yates dumbbell row
via dorian yates instagram

Here is some sage training advice from Dorian Yates for developing a phenomenal back:

  • Train back first when fresh
  • Use a challenging weight
  • Focus on feeling the contraction
  • Limit sets to maximize intensity
  • Allow sufficient rest between sets
  • Progressively increase weight over time
  • Maintain perfect exercise form
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Implement Dorian’s Tips

Dorian Yates’ time-tested training principles work when applied intelligently and consistently over time. 

Here are some tips for following his approach:

  • Train back first in your workout when energized
  • Stick to basic mass-building exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, pull-downs, and shrugs
  • Use excellent form and squeeze the back muscles
  • Keep sets in the 6-12 rep range
  • Take 2 minutes rest between sets
  • Increase weight only when you hit the top rep target
  • Follow a high-protein diet to support muscle growth
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At age 61, Dorian Yates is living proof that his training methods can deliver long-lasting results. By applying his hard and heavy approach, you, too, can build an excellent back and set your traps up the mountainous proportions. 

Bring the intensity and go “Yates style” on those dumbbell shrugs!

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