Barbell Shrug

Shrugs are a popular exercise to isolate your traps. It will mostly work the upper part of the trapezius muscle, which is the part behind your neck that "pops out". For a complete trap development, you will need to incorporate another exercise that works the lower part of the traps too.

The traps run all the way from the upper part of your neck, to the middle back. Your traps have two functions, pulling the shoulders up, like the shrug. and also pulling the shoulder closer together or farther apart.

Strengthening the traps will improve shoulder mobility, posture, and might help prevent back pain.

The shrug can be done with Barbell, dumbbells, a trap bar and a dedicated machine. The barbell lets you put more weight that possible with dumbbells, but it also requires your shoulders to be in a less natural position, that might cause a bad form during this exercise.

Exercise Video

How to do

  1. Load the barbell with the appropriate weight and stand in front of the bar with your legs shoulder width apart.
  2. Grab the bar with your hands about shoulder width apart. Bending at the knees only, pick the barbell up off the floor, keep your back straight while lifting.
  3. While holding the barbell lower your shoulders down, this is the starting position.
  4. While keeping your shoulders and arms tensed, shrug your shoulders as high as possible while exhaling.
  5. Hold it for a moment and then return to starting position in a controlled movement.

  6. Avoid using too much weight, since it can compress your spine.

    Keep your shoulder blades pulled down and back and your chest up, The barbell will cause your shoulders to roll infront a little, try to keep them back as much as you can.

    Hold your neck in a natural position. Having your head either too far forward or backwards may cause the neck muscles to perform under the majority of the muscular tension and stimulus; not the traps.

    Keep your body and core tight and abs engaged throughout the exercise to protect your spine.

    Do not move your hips while shrugging. The movement should be done with your shoulders.

    Don't bend your arms, bending the arms will shift the weight to you biceps instead of the traps. keep your arms straight.

    Don't roll your shoulders, the barbell should go straight up and down. Rolling the shoulders in unnecessary, and might increase the risk of injury.

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