Bent-knee inverted shrug on parallel bars exercise

Bent-knee inverted shrug on parallel bars

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Upper Trapezius
  • Synergists: Middle Trapezius, Levator Scapulae
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Squat between the parallel bars and grasp the bars with your palms facing each other.
  2. Lean your torso back as you walk your feet up against the back rest of the parallel bar machine until your torso is inverted. If your parallel bars have no back rest, kick your legs up to invert your body.
  3. Bend your knees, and if possible, keep your feet positioned against the back rest of the parallel bars.


  1. Keeping your torso and thighs aligned, exhale as you raise your body up by pulling your shoulders towards your ears.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. To get out of the inverted position, slowly walk your feet down from the back rest to raise your torso.

Comments and tips

  • This is an advanced and potentially dangerous bodyweight exercise for the trapezius. Falling from an inverted position may result in serious injury, especially to your head.
  • For your safety, use wrist straps. You can also add a cushion or padding to the floor and clear your environment from any sharp objects. Have a spotter with you.
  • Place your feet against the back rest to help maintain your balance while hanging upside down.
  • Extending the legs and keeping the whole body straight forces many stabilizer muscles to be activated throughout the body, especially in the core.
  • If you have any chronic conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, do not perform this exercise. Inverted positions can increase your blood pressure.
  • The barbell shrug and Smith machine shrug are safer alternatives to the bent-knee inverted shrug on parallel bars. These exercises also target the trapezius.

Bent-knee inverted shrug on parallel bars video

Sources, Scapule and Clavicle Articulations

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