HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Barbell Shrug

How To: Barbell Shrug

Barbell Shrug

The shrug, an old school exercise performed to add mass to the traps, creating that highly desired V upper back/neck shape.
When it comes to building big traps there are no secrets, hit your shrugs heavy, often and with solid form and you're on the right track.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Traps

Required: Barbell

Optional: Straps

Barbell Shrug Form:

Grasping a barbell in front of your body with extended arms and an overhand grip maintain a slight bend in your knees.

Maintaining your straight position proceed to shrug your shoulders up as high as possible (imagine raising your shoulders to your ears).

As you reach the top of the repetition hold and contract for 1 second.

Lower the barbell back down.

Common Barbell Shrug Mistakes

Rolling Your Shoulders

When performing shrugs the biggest mistake I see being made is the constant rolling of the shoulders.
Focus on raising your shoulders up to your ears and squeezing in one vertical shrugging movement, no forward or backward rolling necessary.

If you're rolling your shoulders on each repetition you're merely transferring the weight from your traps to the associated joints and tendons, placing you at a greater risk of injury.

Not Holding The Contraction

Don't just speed through your shrugs without focusing on the contraction, if you're not getting the contraction you're not going to be getting the gains you want.
Ensure you hold the top position of your shrugs for 1 second.

See also
How To: Cable Rear Delt Fly

Here's The Barbell I Use & Recommend...

I've been using one of these 'The Beast" 7 foot olympic barbells in my home garage gym for the last 6 years, it's affordable, high quality and gets the job done regardless of how many 45lb plates are loaded on it.
Check it out and invest in a high quality "The Beast" barbell here.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Upright Rows

Any Questions Regarding The Barbell Shrug? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

Stay in Touch

To follow the best weight loss journeys, success stories and inspirational interviews with the industry's top coaches and specialists. Start changing your life today!

Related Articles