Barbell Shrug Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Barbell
  • Isolation
  • Pull
  • Beginner
  • None
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Traps Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Set up for the standing barbell shrug by loading up the weight you want to use on a straight bar or Olympic bar.
  2. Stand facing the bar with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing down), with your hands about shoulder width apart.
  4. Bending at the knees only, pick the barbell up off the floor.
  5. Keeping the barbell close to your body, let your shoulders "sag" as far as possible. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  6. Slowly shrug your shoulders up as far as possible.
  7. Pause, and then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  8. Repeat for desired reps.

​Shrug Tips:

  1. Focus on lifting the weight with your traps and not your biceps.
  2. Pausing at the top of the barbell shrug makes the exercise more challenging and you'll get more out of it. Try and pause for a count of 1-3 at the top of each rep.
  3. There's no benefit to roll your shoulders forward or back when you shrug - that's a myth!
  4. Just raise the barbell straight up and straight down.
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12 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 09/12/2013 - 05:29
Andy D

@Christian Rivas - Perform a 'mangina' prior to barbell shrugs

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Posted Mon, 05/27/2013 - 11:54
Deborah

I love shrugs, but they tend to screw up my neck. After one workout, I could barely turn my head for a week and my hands kept falling asleep. I'm sure I did something wrong, but I don't want to chance it. What would you recommend for a replacement here? Thanks. Good workout.

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 14:30
Jarod

This is decent form, however in my experience you get a better pump/activation of your traps by slightly rolling your shoulders back. This is the same motion you make when you want to show someone your traps so it makes sense to me.

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Posted Fri, 10/26/2012 - 05:17
Adam

Just let it brush against your manly parts. And use straps when weight exceeds grip strength

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Posted Fri, 10/05/2012 - 13:06
Eric

As I've gotten stronger doing these my hands and forearms haven't caught up. What can I do if the weight is too much for them?

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Posted Sun, 10/07/2012 - 10:59
Dan

get some of them grip strengtheners the look like what you put on the end of a bench press bar to keep the weights on do some everyday untill you cant do any more and your grip and fore arms should get stronger

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Posted Sat, 06/09/2012 - 12:31
JoLifter

I'd recommend using dumbbells. The dumbbell shrug hits the same muscles and having two individual weights rather than a single bar, gives you better meanouvre-ing ability

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Posted Wed, 05/23/2012 - 18:05
Christian Rivas

When I do these shrugs my manly part gets in the way. Is it okay to keep it not that close to your body?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2013 - 16:36
Ken

Dont lean back, if anything lean forward. just make sure your chin is up, eyes are forward and back is straight. this will also thicken your lower traps, and that is very nicer

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Posted Fri, 08/23/2013 - 03:12
Brian

I don't have that problem. Then again, I'm extremely poorly endowed.

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Posted Tue, 11/05/2013 - 04:18
Sam

HAHAHAHHAAA I have the same problem dude

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Posted Mon, 05/26/2014 - 22:39
Anurag

Hi Christian, You may also opt for dumbbell shrugs as it will also helps you to focus and control the weights while lifting from traps and not the biceps.
happy training!