T Nation

Problem with shrugs

When I shrug with heavy (for me) weights, as I shrug the weight up, the bar tends to hit me in the nuts.
Not pleasant. I tried leaning forward a bit and ended up straining my back. Not worth it.
Does this happen to anyone else? how do you work around this?

Try dumbbells or holding the barbell behind your back. You could do power shrugs too in which you’d bend over and bend the knees at the start in order to explode the weight up as a kind of cheated shrug.

  1. Use a cambered bar, or trap bar.

  2. Use dumbells.

  3. Use different variations for trap training. My traps grew the most during a period when the only direct shrugging I did was calf-machine hise shrugs.

  4. Change your gym attire-- Leather chaps with no underwear is just not appropriate.

RIT Jared

Use a snatch grip. If your grip is wide enough the bar should be well above your junk at the bottom position. You probably will not be able to use as much weight, but it will provide a different stimulus for your traps.I hope this helps…


Thanks for the ideas. Some are not possible:
I don’t have a trap bar
I don’t have dumbbells heavy enough
I don’t have a calf-machine to do hise shrugs, but I guess I could do them with a barbell, right?
I’ll try the snatch grip shrugs.
How about upright rows?

RIT Jared, if I catch you spying on me again while I’m working out, I’ll begin to get suspicious. Anyway the breezy attire inspires my workouts.

Maybe if I didn’t have such big cuhones, this problem wouldn’t exist …

Do a search for C.T.'s article about how to build your trap/upper back. I think it is called “The Power Look.” Very good article with alot of different variations. This may be just what your nuts need.

Do them behind the back.

You could also try high pulls.

looking for variations?

try the snatch grip overhead shrug. this is basically a shrug done with the bar extended above the head as though at the end of a military press. its killer. just don’t drop the bar on your head.


enjoy the cold steel against your ‘boys’.


I used to have this problem, but eventually I learned to bend forward just enough to brush the fellows without actually irritating them. At first, like you, I thought it was a real problem. But now, after a little practice and perfecting the movement, I am able to shrug with well over 405 without fear of jading the jewels.

ME TO!! with a flat bar I hit my “friends” behind the back the bar catches on my ass. I started useing dumbbells don’t roll the shoulders just take it staight up. now the thing that sucks is that the biggest dumbells at my gym is 140lbs. the snach grip (wide grip) hurts my shoulder, the trap bar helps to but feels awkward, it takes some balance and time but it will let you go heavy.