T Nation

How Do You Train Shrugs?


I was wondering how you guys train with shrugs. Because they are a relatively small muscle should they be treated with higher reps? or with heavier weight? thanks for the input


High volume, high weight. It's not too difficult to shrug a relatively high weight for higher reps, and more sets than you would other lifts. Personally, I will do at least 4 sets of 10-12 reps using as much weight as I can while still feeling the traps work. Straps can help if your grip gives out.


i agree with high volume high weight. i work with a very heavy 5RM power shrug and start pyramiding down when i can only get 3-4 reps with the weight (i usually get to this point at about 20 reps), and do about 40 reps total.

around that time i hit 40 reps, weights and velocity start to decrease more and more so i switch to a different rep scheme, 30 reps at my 10RM for dumbbell shrugs. then, 20 reps with a behind the back smith machine shrug using the same total weight as the previous exercise.

i finish with a super long extended set of shrugs with the shoulder-padded calf raise machine starting at the same 10RM as before and just keep going up the stack maybe 8-10 times, emphasizing a 2-3 second hold at the top, a slow negative, and a stretch at the bottom. burns like a mother.

my grip was a problem so i ditched the straps, lo and behold, my grip strength caught up. definitely use chalk for the BB and DB though. also, IMO it's ok to apply just enough body english to shrug explosively with the BB/DB as long as you can perform a tight squeeze and hold at the top and start from all the way at the bottom.


-Haney shrugs(behind the back, slight bend in elbows)
-Seated DB shrugs
Heavy as possible while still able maintain a squeeze at the top of each rep.. If you're looking for more trap development nothing beats good old fashioned deadlifting or rack pulling.


I have to assume, mainly because mine do, that your pull and your shrug #'s will move at the same time. I've never had a significant jump in deads without my shrugs also moving up. Maybe I'm a freak...

But seeing as you are asking about shrugs and not pulls and rack pulls...

Work on getting your shrug up to 405x20, with reasonable body english. Long before you get to that point, you won't give a fuck what our opinions are, because you'll have your own, and know what works for you.


^lul good point. 405x20 yikes indeed, if you can pull that, feel free to write an article about it.


Just to be clear, I'm talking about shrugs for 405x20.

And to be honest, I hit 495 for 110 reps over 4 sets (30,30,30,20) a couple weeks ago, and there is no way I should be writing articles lol.


Haha yeah like beans said, 405x20 ain't crazy for shrugs. I'll do strict, semi-strict, and RAWR shrugs, depending on what I feel like for the day. Strict means like 405xa couple sets of 5-8, squeeze at top and bottom of each rep. Semi-strict is just a controlled up and down movement, working up to something like 495x10ish reps. RAWR is like today, where leg drive is acceptable, and no squeeze needed....goal is just to move heavy-ass weight as many times as possible...today's was 585x35. The people I know with the biggest traps usually do them that fashion a lot. But with more weight and reps than me.


i guess it's crazy enough if you don't pull 405 for any movement. i mean, i've seen guys throw 4 or 5 plates on, strap up, and then the ROM is like this< >much. i'm all for RAWR shrugging, hell i RAWR shrug the bejeezus out of my BB/DB shrugs but shouldn't you at least be able to get half ROM or so out of it...