Health and Beauty

How and why do you do overhead shrugs?

The barbell shake is an excellent exercise for developing the upper trapezius.

Although it's a very uncommon movement and you'll rarely see it done in the gym, the shoulder shrug has many benefits that make it a worthwhile exercise to include in your workout routine.

This is because shrugs not only increase muscle mass in the upper trapezius, but also help improve posture and upper body mobility.

Muscles used in the upper shrug.
Illustrative credit © Aliaksandr Makatserchyk
  1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, raise the barbell above your head. Keep your arms straight.
  2. Keeping your arms straight and your back straight, then exhale while raising your shoulders as high as possible.
  3. Hold this position for two seconds and contract the upper trapezius muscles.
  4. Inhale as you slowly lower your shoulders.
  5. Repeat this movement until you complete the required number of repetitions.

Training tips

  • Make sure you wrap your thumb around the band so it doesn't slip and fall on your head. Never use a thumbless grip (suicide grip) for this exercise.
  • Keep your abs engaged and your back neutral throughout the exercise.
  • The bar should be held directly above your head during the entire exercise.
  • For your safety, start with a light load and gradually increase as your strength increases.
  • Reduce the amount of momentum you can provide with your legs, as well as any jerky movements or excessive bounce of the bar.

How and why do you do overhead shrugs?

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