Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredMachine
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Traps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Machine Shrug Overview

The machine shrug is a variation of the barbell shrug used to strengthen the trapezius muscles

One would use the machine shrug as a way to focus on isolating the traps. One can better isolate certain muscle groups with a machine due to its fixed movement pattern.

The machine shrug is best added towards the end of your workout if you are training for hypertrophy, after you’ve used other more compound and explosive movements to work your traps.

Machine Shrug Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position in front of the shrug machine.
  2. Hinge forward and grasp both handles with a double overhand grip.
  3. Assume a standing position, inhale, and contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Machine 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. 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.