Shoulder Shrugs

About The Shrug Exercise

Performing the shrug exercise is a great way to develop the upper portion of the traps. There are several variations that can be utilized by mixing it up between dumbbell and barbell usage. Studies have shown that performing the shrug exercise with a barbell positioned behind the back is the most effective method for recruiting motor units, thus, muscle fibers within the traps. Regardless of which method you select, you’ll want to ensure that you DO NOT allow your head to protrude forward. Doing so places great stress along the neck region and increases the risk of sustaining a herniated disk.

Shrug Exercise Video

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Exercise Instructions

  1. Grasp an appropriately weighted dumbbell in each hand and hold them to the sides with arms extended.
  2. Select a spot on the wall to keep your eyes on at approximately forehead level. The visual will aid in preventing you from flexing the neck forward.
  3. Exhale, elevate shoulders and hold elevated position briefly for an optimal contraction.
  4. Inhale and lower down slowly at a controlled speed.
  5. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.

Exercise Variations

Performing the shrug exercise using a barbell positioned behind the body has been shown slightly more effective in drawing muscle recruitment. The shrug exercise can also be performed using a barbell to the front of the body. Remember, all the same techniques apply. Don’t go too heavy and really try to focus on using proper form.

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