T Nation

Question about Shrug Form

OK, I have a memory of reading in an article on here a couple of weeks back that one of the authors didn’t train shrugs. He gave his reasons and that is cool. He then mentioned that most people do shrugs wrong.

This got me thinking, what is the correct form for a barbell shrug?

I have read plenty that you should only lift straight up, not do the shoulder roll thing that you see so many people do in the gym but I have never really thought that much about the form. I take an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width and pull my shoulders in and up using my traps. For heavy sets I use straps so that I can work a heavier weight than my grip would allow (typically I do shrugs towards the end of my workout.)

So any pointers or videos that the more knowledgeable members can help me out with?

Hmm, standing with the torso pretty much at a 90 deg angle to the floor and then shrugging straight up to my ears just feels weird as hell to me.

I prefer to do them bent forward slightly (bent at the hip joints, knees bent a bit as well), so that when I shrug, my shoulders end up rising towards a point behind my head, and I retract my scapulae on the way up, then reverse that on the way down.

Perhaps not a traditional shrug, but that works best for me… It’s not unlike the scap retraction you do after every lockout on rack pulls, except that the shoulders also rise.

(may sound complicated, but it’s a perfectly natural movement to me…)

As for “correct” form… There isn’t one…

personally i like to pull my shoulders back as far as i can without hindering the movement of the bar and then shrugging from that position. So standing straight shoulders pulled back then just shrugging up. Someone got me onto the whole pull your shoulders back thing and ive been liking it. just my personal opinion on this one.

Do it however you like, just listen to your body and where your feeling it. you will know when your doing it right.

shrug form? really…

[quote]fighting_fires wrote:
personally i like to pull my shoulders back as far as i can without hindering the movement of the bar and then shrugging from that position. So standing straight shoulders pulled back then just shrugging up. Someone got me onto the whole pull your shoulders back thing and ive been liking it. just my personal opinion on this one. [/quote]

I do the same, even though I rarely do shrugs. Letting your arms hang and just shrugging straight up doesn’t seem to do much. Much more effective IMO if you retract your scapulea and try to pull your traps behind your ears.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
shrug form? really…[/quote]

It’s a fine question. The forums are here so people can become better in the weight room, if you have already read/know the answer then post it here, otherwise don’t bother looking at the thread if you think it’s ridiculous.

Try flexing your traps without any weight and see what movement gives you the best contraction, then add weight and . . . wah lah . . . “perfect” form for you.

Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned in the original post my interest was piqued by the comment from one of the authors here.

Oh and by straight up and down I meant in one plane of motion as opposed to circling the shoulder like you see a lot of people do.

[quote]Cockney Blue wrote:
Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned in the original post my interest was piqued by the comment from one of the authors here.

Oh and by straight up and down I meant in one plane of motion as opposed to circling the shoulder like you see a lot of people do.[/quote]

Don’t “circle/roll” the shoulders while doing shrugs. All that does is grind the shoulder joint.

You can try different torso angles (like C_C suggested), DB’s, BB, weight in front or behind the body, etc… But just contract the traps (which results in a fairly straight bar path).

“45 degree shrugs”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QAnEwP1lJ0

DB shrugs (gotta love Ronnie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

Incline chest supported rows (here shown using a T-bar row machine)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

BB front shrugs

BB behind the back shrugs

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Cockney Blue wrote:
Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned in the original post my interest was piqued by the comment from one of the authors here.

Oh and by straight up and down I meant in one plane of motion as opposed to circling the shoulder like you see a lot of people do.

Don’t “circle/roll” the shoulders while doing shrugs. All that does is grind the shoulder joint.

You can try different torso angles (like C_C suggested), DB’s, BB, weight in front or behind the body, etc… But just contract the traps (which results in a fairly straight bar path).

“45 degree shrugs”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QAnEwP1lJ0

DB shrugs (gotta love Ronnie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

Incline chest supported rows (here shown using a T-bar row machine)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

BB front shrugs

BB behind the back shrugs

I did chest supported shrugs for a while and liked them a lot. I’m not sure why I haven’t rotated them back in. Thanks for the reminder.

Matt Kroc, 20 reps with 625 lbs - no straps - his grip strength is insane!

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

DB shrugs (gotta love Ronnie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

Incline chest supported rows (here shown using a T-bar row machine)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E
[/quote]

Sir, these two are the same video.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Cockney Blue wrote:
Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned in the original post my interest was piqued by the comment from one of the authors here.

Oh and by straight up and down I meant in one plane of motion as opposed to circling the shoulder like you see a lot of people do.

Don’t “circle/roll” the shoulders while doing shrugs. All that does is grind the shoulder joint.

You can try different torso angles (like C_C suggested), DB’s, BB, weight in front or behind the body, etc… But just contract the traps (which results in a fairly straight bar path).

“45 degree shrugs”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QAnEwP1lJ0

DB shrugs (gotta love Ronnie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

Incline chest supported rows (here shown using a T-bar row machine)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXMWdk9RH2E

BB front shrugs

BB behind the back shrugs

Thanks for the vids