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Shrug Questions


I had a couple questions regarding barbell and dumbbell shrugs.

First, how high should my shoulders be at the top of the rep?

Second, should I contract my triceps? I have a habit of bending my elbow fairly significantly during shrugs. Is that a problem?



As high as you can.

Probably isn't a problem, but it won't be optimal for trap stimulation because it would incorporate more of the biceps doing the work rather than the traps. If contracting the tri's help you focus more on the main muscle then yes. Squeezing the bar hard should allow you to also squeeze the tri's as well, making it easier to keep arms straight.


Are you saying they should be coming up as high as they do when I fully contract my traps with an empty bar? Or are you just being a smart ass? lol

Alright. I'll give it a try keeping my arms straight next time I do shrugs.


As high as poss = as high as with no weight!


Yes, or as close as possible.


Something else you might consider doing to get an even more intense contraction of the traps is to drop your head a tiny bit forward and down at the top of the shrug. When I do this, I get a little bit of an extra "squeeze" in them.


Yep. Tucking you chin will increase the ROM


Sight. Definitely going to have to drop the weight, then!

I'll give that a try; thanks.


So is it unanimous on keeping the elbows straight and not bouncing a bit at the bottom? (last part is my question).


No one ever said not to bounce at the boottom. The stretch reflex is a great way to stimulate muscle fibers. Pretty much the main principle of the 'perfect rep'. Just be careful not to tear anything and you still absolutely need to control the weight on the eccentric.


So if you get a bend in your knees at the end of the eccentric to get a little extra power to pop the weight up that pretty much eliminates that reflex I guess?


Yea I wouldnt start using leg drive with shrugs.

Power shrugs have their place. But most people doing them are doing them for a reason. O-lifters to increase power or powerlifters to help a very specific part of their deadlift. Or bodybuilders to break a significant plateau. But I dont think they should be a routine thing for the regular guy.