- Target muscle: Upper Trapezius
- Synergists: Middle Trapezius, Levator Scapulae
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Force: Pull
- Stand holding a barbell using a shoulder-width pronated grip (palms facing your body).
- Exhale as you elevate your shoulders as high as possible.
- Hold for a count of two and squeeze your trapezius.
- Inhale as you lower the barbell back to the starting position.
Comments and tips
- Keep your back straight and torso still; only your shoulders should move.
- Keep your elbows slightly bent.
- Do not roll your shoulders, as this increases the risk of injury.
- If necessary, use wrist straps for a better grip, or use a mixed grip (one hand pronated or facing you, the other hand supinated or facing forward).
- The barbell shrug targets your upper trapezius, while your middle trapezius acts as a synergist. A strong trapezius will assist you in the development of other major muscle groups, as it is involved in many key exercises.
- See also the cable shrug using pull-down bar.
The shrug can also be performed with the barbell behind your back (behind-the-back barbell shrug), with the barbell held over your head (barbell overhead shrug), with a trap bar (trap bar shrug), with dumbbells (dumbbell shrug), with a Smith machine (Smith machine shrug), with a cable machine (cable shrug), and on parallel bars (bent-knee inverted shrug on parallel bars).