T Nation

How Do You Shrug?

Im wondering how everyone shrugs, do you shrug by using a little motion and leg drive and then shrugging, do you shrug slow and squeeze and the top, do you use very strict form, do you go all the way down to feel the stretch in the traps(which is supposed to be bad for the shoulder but that just what i heard). SO tell us how do you shrug. Also high or low reps.

I dunno.

With a very deep sigh, kinda like “shrug”. Usually when something out of my control happens and is negative.

An interesting thing to look at is the Superhero workout by Thibs, there is a day dedicated almost strictly to shrugs. That program brought up my shoulders very well.

I’ve always used strict form, somewhat lower weight to get it all the way up and hold at the top for a second or so.

I find doing Smyth Shrugs more comfortable for me - I don’t just “shrug” vertically, it’s more of a 45-55 degree motion, which one of the more experienced guys (15 years+) suggested.

He said it provides him with better growth, but not drastically. Since doing them, I feel my traps have “worked” more for the next couple of days. I also doing isolated DB shrugs - 1 side at a time.

Usually work up to a heavier weight, lower the reps, then work my way back down.

Edit:
My traps still have a long way to go, I’m not suggesting this is the best way. It’s working for me, and I’m just saying that’s how I do them.

I’ve lately simplified my shrugging to only 4 movements:

  1. Shrug on a Bodymasters Front Squat machine. This machine puts a padded yoke on the shoulders which also proves suitable for shrugging. The most similar barbell exercise is the Hise shrug (wherein the barbell is placed as if doing a squat, but instead shrugging.)

However I find it better than the Hise shrug as personal opinion.

  1. Voyer Shrug. CT has an article discussing this. I don’t know if I do them the way he would wish, as I do them in stages rather than as continual motion. First, very high shrug and hold, second rotate the arms and retract the scapulae with chest thrust out and hold, third reverse that, and fourth reverse the first step.

  2. Bodymasters Shrug. Really just a plate loaded shrug no doubt similar to a Hammer machine or any other plateloaded. But the motion seems better to me than a barbell or Smith. No big difference though to be sure. Most certainly either could be substituted satisfactorily.

  3. 20 degree barbell shrug. Same starting position as a Yates row, or might be as much as 30 degrees from vertical, but shrugging high and then retracting somewhat like the Voyer Shrug but of course without the arm rotation.

Range of motion is full. No leg assistance. I hold at the top and do slow eccentrics. The positives are smooth and don’t rely on momentum (are not explosive.) Not that there isn’t a place also for explosive positives but I don’t do them on this exercise.

I don’t have an issue with it being possible for the stretch to be to too low a position.

Lastly, though not a shrug, when DL’ing or Romanian DL’ing I make a thorough point of squaring the shoulders and retracting to best form.

I probably should get back to doing Overhead Shrugs but for the time being have not been doing them.

I like to hold the top and the stretch. The range of motion is so short that this helps increase the time under tension. i don’t really feel the stretch unless i lean forward a bit.

My traps have always responded peculiarly to anything I throw at them, but I’ve definitely experienced the best non-deadlifting trap gains come from holding the contraction for about 3-4 seconds. This usually really tears them apart.

I have tried many different types of shrugs.(Barbell,db,Kelso,Hise,Smith machine,etc…)but adding a shrug at the top of RDL’s seems to hit my traps harder than the others.

My traps don’t seem to respond well to heavy weights and low reps.
They seem to respond better to volume and higher reps.
But then maybe I just find it hard to activate them and cheat too much with heavier weights…hard to say.
I find a weight I can do 10-12 with good form,and do at least 5/6 sets of 3 variations-
with the barbell in front,with the barbell behind my back,
and leaning slightly forward,about 20/25 degrees (This last one seems to target the traps more for me)

I don’t use any momentum from legs or arms,take about 2 seconds to do a full elevation and rotation of the shoulders,and realy try to touch my ears with my shoulders,squeeze it out,then lower down,about 2/3 seconds on the negative.
I have experimented a bit and find that I have to use a barbell (a dumbell is just too distracting,trying to hold it steady,plus using my wrists and shoulder muscles other than my Traps to stabilise them,dumbells also usually bounce off my thighs,or off a bench if I sit down)

I usually do them as part of a superset or giant set,or on a cardio/core day,when I sometimes also work on my ‘supporting cast’ muscles (usually my limiting factors/weak points,like forearms/calves/external rotator cuff/traps/rear delts)
I’m pretty pleased with them so far,they are bigger than even most of the biggest/strongest guys in the gym,but they still need work…

For me its always explosive shrugs at the top of clean or snatch pulls.

My favorite is power shrugs from with the bar on blocks or in a rack at mid thigh. this is great for me because it imitates the super important 2nd pull through the hips. I also go up on my toes. this is a point in Clean and snatch that i feelweak in so I like to rock these a lot.

I notice that they have the greatest impact on how big my traps are because i can use weights that are well over 100% of my clean and still be uber fast. I keep the reps low but sets high. I like to do about 10 sets between sets of other assistance work.

-chris

[quote]Avocado wrote:
For me its always explosive shrugs at the top of clean or snatch pulls.

[/quote]

Same here. Heavy cleans make my traps sore the next day.

Just don’t roll your shoulders back like a doofus!

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
Just don’t roll your shoulders back like a doofus![/quote]

why not?

I like watching the roll the shoulder without elevating the shoulder shruggers. They make me giggle.

Are people doing several shrug variations during one workout? I currently do 3 sets of heavy (for me) shrugs on the HS plate loaded machine for 6-10 reps before deadlift and thats plenty to wear them out.

[quote]elano wrote:
I dunno.[/quote]

Crap! I was going to use that joke…

Power shrugs with 6 plates(at the moment)

Barbell shrugs with squeeze and wide grip(ring finger on ring) usually use 4 plates or so.

One day power one day regular Normally in the 10-12 rep range

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
elano wrote:
I dunno.

Crap! I was going to use that joke…[/quote]

x2

[quote]winkel wrote:
Are people doing several shrug variations during one workout? [/quote]

I’m atypical in tending to do many exercises for a bodypart per workout, and particularly so for muscles of the upper and mid back (not so for all bodyparts however.) It’s not a general rule that most do 4 different kinds of shrugs or necessarily any more than one kind. Most do not or maybe might do two kinds.

I find that doing power shrugs with lifting hooks totally fries my traps. I used to do them without the hooks but my grip always gave out before my traps. As soon as I added them in, they starting moving up.

And of course, deadlifts help. I don’t know anyone who deadlifts heavy and doesn’t have decent trap development.