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


Traps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Overhead Barbell Shrug Overview

The overhead barbell shrug is a variation of the barbell shrug and is an exercise used to target the trapezius muscle.

The significant different in the exercise is it somewhat changes the shrug from a pulling exercise to a pushing exercise. By bringing the weight overhead during the overhead barbell shrug, you’ll be forced to push your traps up to move the weight as opposed to pulling them to move the weight.

Overhead Barbell Shrug Instructions

  1. Unrack the bar in a front rack position and press overhead to lockout with a double overhand grip.
  2. Inhale and contract the traps to elevate the shoulders.
  3. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Overhead Barbell 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.