The barbell shrug is an old-school, yet very effective compound movement which builds up the trapezius muscles of the back. It’s a great exercise for loading up the bar with heavy weight to really stimulate the muscles but good form is always important to see the best results and to ensure optimal safety.
But, some people may find it safer to use a Smith machine which is completely acceptable and will still yield great results. And dumbbells are another great alternative if you have limited mobility. However, a free weight barbell is a great training tool which allows for maximal loading.
So, include the barbell shrug in your routine and use it at the beginning of your workout when you have the most strength to really benefit.
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Upper Trapezius
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Equipment: Barbell
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Grip the barbell at shoulder-width.
- Then, stand straight up and bend your knees slightly.
- Now, shrug your shoulder up and back then squeeze for a few seconds.
- Relax your shoulders and then perform the preferred amount of reps for the movement.
Variations & tips:
- You can also use a Smith machine for a more stable training method.
- Dumbbells are also a great alternative for the shrug.
- Avoid training too heavy as it’s not safe for your back and won’t allow you to use a full range of motion.
- The barbell shrug is a mass-building exercise which most effectively develops the trapezius muscles of the upper posterior chain.