Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Traps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Behind-The-Back Barbell Shrug Instructions

  1. Set up for the behind-the-back barbell shrug by loading up the weight you want to use on a straight bar or an Olympic bar.
  2. Stand facing away from the bar with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  3. Bending only at the knees, pick the barbell up off the floor behind your back. You may have a training partner assist you.
  4. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, with your hands about shoulder width apart.  
  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.

Behind-The-Back Barbell Shrug Tips

  • Focus on lifting the weight with your traps and not your biceps.
  • 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.
  • There's no benefit to rolling your shoulders forward or back when you shrug. Just raise the barbell straight up and straight down.