T Nation

Shrugs and Upper Traps

I’m noticing that it’s hard for me to “feel” the uppermost traps (visible from the front) working when doing any kind of shrug. In order to feel them working I really have to pull my shoulders forward which I tend not to do because I feel like it may be bad for my shoulders. So i guess my question is how do you shrug? do you attempt to keep your shoulders back throughout the lift, naturally in the middle, or do you bring them forward?

Shoulders pulled back and down.

Just shrug up and down… perpendicular to the pull of gravity.

Do you stay upright with chest high while you shrug? Or do you hunch forward slightly? Experiment with this until you feel it.

Also (and this is a big factor for me), don’t try and go too heavy. Your ROM will be limited and may end up doing a head-tuck when you think you’re actually shrugging fully.

Go lighter, work with higher reps until you feel that burn.

I like to do power shrugs and really feel the squeeze. 3.5-4 plates/side on the HS shrug for 10 reps/set.
or 225 for sets of ten.

My traps really grow the best from hang cleans though.

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
Just shrug up and down… perpendicular to the pull of gravity.

Do you stay upright with chest high while you shrug? Or do you hunch forward slightly? Experiment with this until you feel it.

Also (and this is a big factor for me), don’t try and go too heavy. Your ROM will be limited and may end up doing a head-tuck when you think you’re actually shrugging fully.

Go lighter, work with higher reps until you feel that burn.[/quote]

I’ll definitely try toying with form a bit, but like I said it’s hard to feel the muscles working without putting myself in a bad/unsafe position. With that said, my upper traps have been growing decently well, so maybe it’s just a muscle that doesn’t get all that sore for me.

[quote]Blaze_108 wrote:
I like to do power shrugs and really feel the squeeze. 3.5-4 plates/side on the HS shrug for 10 reps/set.
or 225 for sets of ten.

My traps really grow the best from hang cleans though.[/quote]

One of my friends also likes cleans for his traps. The only reason I’m not cleaning now is because my gym doesn’t have any rubber weights (I prefer to drop the weight). I am transferring to a school that does though so i’ll have an opportunity to clean there.

Power cleans>greater than everything else in my experience. I did those all the time in HS and haven’t needed to do direct trap work since.

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
Power cleans>greater than everything else in my experience. I did those all the time in HS and haven’t needed to do direct trap work since.[/quote]

Yeah I did a lot of cleaning back in high school too. It’s been about two years though. I’m probably going to do them 2 to 3 times a week this fall just to see what happens. Quick question, did you ever use straps for cleaning at all? I’m working my grip hard to make sure it isn’t a weak spot in my cleans but I still think it’s going to be one of the limiting factors. I don’t have a weak grip or anything, it’s just when you try and yank a bar that fast it gets real hard to hold onto so I’m thinking i may try straps out

[quote]TD54 wrote:

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
Power cleans>greater than everything else in my experience. I did those all the time in HS and haven’t needed to do direct trap work since.[/quote]

Yeah I did a lot of cleaning back in high school too. It’s been about two years though. I’m probably going to do them 2 to 3 times a week this fall just to see what happens. Quick question, did you ever use straps for cleaning at all?

I’m working my grip hard to make sure it isn’t a weak spot in my cleans but I still think it’s going to be one of the limiting factors. I don’t have a weak grip or anything, it’s just when you try and yank a bar that fast it gets real hard to hold onto so I’m thinking i may try straps out[/quote]

Nope, I never used straps and I actually think that would a recipe for injury since your wrist should be bending backwards at the top of the movement but the strap will force you to keep your wrist static. Just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

Yeah i’ve never done it either. I’m thinking it may be possible with thumbs over grip however the whole thing sounds like a recipe for disaster. I really just need to hit the grip hard this summer and prepare myself for heavy power cleans