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Do People Shrug Up in the Traps when They Bench?

I was reading articles and am trying to improve my bench press - mainly DB… I have just started to get my back tight and firing and seeing my improvements.

I was wondering if people shrug up with the traps a little bit or at all when they bench - either DB or bar - and whether that would be a good thing or bad thing.

I don’t “shrug up”, but I do squeeze or retract my shoulder blades and focus on contracting with my pecs as opposed to letting your shoulders move forward in an attempt to push the bar away from your torso.



cool thanks S. i will admit i did floor press today and shrugged my traps around 50%, nothing crazy and i found that my right anterior shoulder which usually bugs me after pressing did not get sore. so i will count that as a plus - i was reading in the Christian Thibaedo (sp!) that he suggests activating your lats AND shrugging your traps

No you are going from having bar on chest at bottom and locking out over face . If you are power benching especially.

I must admit I had a lot of trouble with shoulder pain until I got this one right. Still have trouble if I go too heavy too often and don’t keep maximum concentration on form.
The consensus is scapulas retracted, back and downwards,stabilises your shoulders. Shoulders high and up towards your ears you are more likely to impinge your rotator tendons, because you are lessening the space between the top of your scapula and the point of your shoulder joint.

Alot of this stuff is genetics, regarding what you can get away with, some people have trouble, others can bench shitloads with bad form and never seem to get shoulder pain.

I suspect you lack of shoulder pain is just from employing a different pathway, to the one
you usually do. You may get away with it in the long term, you might not.
If in doubt drop the weight a little for a while and get good at doing the scapula retraction whilst you bench.

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thanks B_B… i dont bench heavy (yet) but will keep watching my form. there are other forums on this website by coach Thibedoe saying a little shrug up is a good thing so going to stick with that for a bit

If you do a few sets on the Decline Bench, you may be able to “feel” what Thibs is talking about a little better. The decline angle makes my traps work more.

Then when you go back to the flat bench, you use your back to “create a decline.” You kinda get up on your traps, and raise your chest to bench.

Also, remember CT’s olympic lifting background. His traps, and that shrug/squeeze “movement pattern” were strongly developed. If your traps are big and strong, everything feels like a shrug.

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okay thanks FF, will give that a try.

what about shrugging up with traps doing pec fly machine? same principle?

shrugged up today doing pec flys and noticed a bit of a difference, smoother, best chest pump and less shoulder irritation.

any suggestions for tight rear shoulders or delts following a chest workout? y raises, external rotation exercises, stretching? any tips appreciated