How To Do Barbell Shrugs | Movement Breakdown

How To Do Barbell Shrugs | Movement Breakdown

How to Shrug

Shrugs are a simple and effective exercise that primarily targets the trapezius muscles, which are located in your upper back. Here's how to perform shrugs properly:

1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your spine straight.

2. Hold the barbell in front of your thighs with an overhand grip. Your palms should be facing your body.

3. Elevate your shoulders straight up towards your ears as high as you can. Keep your arms straight throughout the movement.

4. Hold the contracted position for a brief pause at the top, squeezing your trapezius muscles.

5. Lower your shoulders back down to the starting position in a controlled manner. Think about expanding your shoulders to really work the trap

6. Perform the desired number of repetitions according to your workout routine.

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Muscles Worked

As mentioned earlier, shrugs primarily target the trapezius muscles, which run down the back of your neck to the middle of your spine. However, shrugs also engage other muscles like the levator scapulae and the rhomboids to a lesser extent.

Alternative to Shrugs

If you're looking for an alternative exercise that targets similar muscle groups, consider doing Barbell or Dumbbell Upright Rows. This exercise also works the trapezius muscles, as well as the deltoids and the biceps.


The equipment you use for shrugs can vary. You can perform shrugs with dumbbells, barbells, or even on certain weight machines that have shrug handles. Each type of equipment provides a slightly different feel, but the basic movement and muscle engagement remain the same. Use the equipment that you are most comfortable with and that fits your training goals.

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