- Target muscle: Upper Trapezius
- Synergists: Middle Trapezius, Levator Scapulae
- Important stabilizers: Anterior Deltoid, Lateral Deltoid, Upper Pectoralis Major, Triceps Brachii
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Force: Pull
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, perform a barbell shoulder press to position the barbell directly over your head.
- Keeping your elbows straight and your back neutral, exhale as you shrug your shoulders up as high as possible.
- Hold for a count of two and squeeze your upper trapezius muscles.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your shoulders.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Comments and tips
- The barbell overhead shrug is an excellent exercise for building the upper trapezius.
- Make sure to wrap your thumbs tightly around the barbell so that it does not slip and drop onto your head. Never use a thumbless grip with this exercise.
- Unlike the barbell shrug, the barbell overhead shrug does not promote internal shoulder rotation, thus allowing you to build your upper trapezius with reduced risk of developing hunched shoulders.
- Keep your core engaged and your back neutral throughout the exercise.
- The barbell should be directly over your head throughout the exercise.
- For your safety, begin with a light weight and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
- See also the dumbbell shrug and the gripless shrug.
Barbell overhead shrug video
ExRx.net, Scapula and Clavicle Articulations