Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Traps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Gittleson Shrug Overview

The Gittleson shrug is an advanced variation of the dumbbell shrug used to build bigger trapezius muscles.

The Gittleson shrug emphasizes the contraction of the upper trapezius muscle by isolating the muscle and working them unilaterally. You also get a slightly greater range of motion by performing the Gittleson shrug since you do bring your ear to both shoulders as you perform the exercise.

Gittleson Shrug Instructions

  1. Assume a seated position on a flat bench with the a dumbbell at your sides.
  2. Hinge forward, inhale, and grab the dumbbell with a neutral grip.
  3. Sit up tall and ensure your spine remains neutral.
  4. Place your free hand behind on base of the bench and tilt your head towards the supporting arm.
  5. Contract the trap to elevate the shoulder of the arm holding the dumbbell. As you squeeze the trap, tilt the head to the same side to enhance the contraction.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Gittleson Shrug Tips

  1. The traps tend to respond well to high reps and explosive movements (e.g. snatch grip high pulls) so program your accessory work accordingly.
  2. Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight. No one cares about how much you shrug.
  3. 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.
  4. Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind muscle connection.