HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Dumbbell Shrug

How To: Dumbbell Shrug

Dumbbell 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: Dumbbells

Optional: Straps

Dumbbell Shrug Form:

Grasping a pair of dumbbell stand straight with palms facing towards your body with 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 dumbbells back down.

Common Dumbbell 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.

See also
How To: Plank

Ensure you hold the top position of your shrugs for 1 second.

Here Are The ONLY Pair of Dumbbells I'll Ever Recommend...

Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights

Instead of buying multiple sets of dumbbells or messing around screwing weight plates on and off your dumbbells between sets and exercises the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell makes progressing with your routine and exercise so much easier and efficient.

Adjustable in 2.5lb increments all the way up to 52.5lbs per dumbbell, ideal for the beginner or intermediate gym-goer

You can invest in a pair of these dumbbells that'll last you forever here.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Barbell Shrug
  • Face Pulls
  • Upright Row

Any Questions Regarding The Dumbbell 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