T Nation

Shrugs and Body English


How much body english do you guys use while doing barbell shrugs? I'm guessing quite a bit? Considering the weights being used.

I use a bit of leg/hip drive, squeeze for a few seconds, and then lower slowly. (this is what I try to do)

Just curious on your input.


personally i dont use any legs. I do lean forward a bit though and sometimes use some hip on the lst few reps. I also let my elbow flex a bit which allows me to contact more fully at the top, I pause a bit st the top too.


people call it "POWER Shrugs"...

I use them from time to time, not to often. Definitely good shit.


I find changing the width of my grip and length of contraction, as well as a mechanical ramp (changing your body mechanics as the weight gets heavier) works very well

This works well with staggered sets of shrugs between sets of presses or can be done following a traditional shrug focus


A. Using a lighter weight....about a 15 rep max or so.....use an almost snatch wide grip (the muscle fibers of the upper traps run diagonally, so a wider grip, creates a pull line, correlating to how the fibers run along the traps)......squeeze and hold at the top for a count or two

B. Adding weight....10-12 rep max or so....move your grip in, until it's about 6 inches wider than your shoulders...still hold that top contraction

C. Adding weight ....8-10 rep max or so....move to a "traditional" shrug width grip.....try to hold at top, but doesn't have to be a full two seconds

D. Add weight again...6-8 rep max or so....same traditional grip....full range of motion, but not really a peak contracted hold at top

E. Max weight......5-6 rep max or so....move grip in a bit, and use a power shrug tecnnique

I really like this progression, but it requires one to do quite a few sets.....6-8 at the minimum I would say, and can be used for 10 plus sets

You could also do the exact opposite progression...start with heavier power shrugs, and take weight off, and widen out your grip as you do so


@ Swad - That looks pretty similar to how I do them, but I don't use nearly that much body english. Thanks for the good vid though.

@ Synergy - I don't generally do much warming up for shrugs since I usually dive into them right after Rack Pulls, and I lift Max-OT style, with a couple heavy sets of 4-6. When (if) I go back to a higher frequency split I am definitely going to try these. Those wide-grip shrugs having me cringing already lol.

I may use the opposite progression technique with Max-OT though, but I only do about 3 sets. Start with a power shrug, take some weight off and widen my grip a little bit, take some more weight off and widen my grip further.


This is good shit right here......I'm always up for a Shrugfest!


if your not using a bit of english, your not shrugging heavy enough. Warm up sets are a bit stricter but the closer i get to the max weight, the more english I use, sure I try to limit it so it doesn't look like I'm having a fit but when you begin using 4,5,6 plates a side there is always going to be at least a bit of english.


The people I know with the biggest traps do shit like 800x30, 585x65, 1000x20 reps....just throwing that out there.