Dumbbell Shrug Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Dumbbell
  • Isolation
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Shoulders, Upper Back
Traps Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Dumbbell Shrug Overview

The dumbbell shrug is a variation of the shrug and an exercise used to build trap muscle size.

Traps, being a stubborn muscle group for many, can be trained with a fairly high frequency during the week. When doing so, be sure to mix up the volume, intensity, and implements you use to train the traps.

Dumbbell shrugs can be included into your shoulder workouts, back workouts, upper body workouts, and full body workouts.

Dumbbell Shrug Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position with the dumbbells on both sides of your body.
  2. Hinge forward, inhale, and grab the dumbbells with a neutral grip.
  3. Stand up tall and ensure your spine remains neutral.
  4. Contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Shrug Tips

  1. Looking slightly up while shrugging may enhance the contraction as traps help to control movement of the skull. This motion should be smooth and controlled, as a ballistic movement could result in a neck injury.
  2. The traps tend to respond well to high reps and explosive movements (e.g. snatch grip high pulls) so program your accessory work accordingly.
  3. Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight. No one cares about how much you shrug.
  4. Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively as you squeeze the traps, this can put the neck in a compromised position and result in an injury.
  5. Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind muscle connection.