Small workouts will lead to bigger benefits and barbell shrugs are such exercise that will target your major muscles and will help to demonstrate a strong upper back. Due to small movements involved in barbell shrugs, there is a potential chance to balance heavyweight on your upper back. Barbell shrugs focus mainly on traps that correspond to moving heavyweights to develop a strong back. While you may think barbell shrugs are simple to perform, but it is challenging. 

Barbell shrugs are famous amongst professional lifters and athletes. Also, a good workout to build trap muscles. Traps are the weakened and less focused muscles in our body. So it is necessary to include workouts like barbell shrugs to strengthen traps. Some people just do it for pure strength and mass while others focus on its variations. If your goal is to stay fit and overall build strong, with minimal movements and develop an aesthetic look, then barbell shrugs are the key.

How to do Barbell Shrugs

How to do Barbell Shrugs
  1. On the floor stand a shoulder-width apart and before starting to inhale.
  2. With palm facing downwards hold the barbell with a tight grip.
  3. For barbell, shrug overgrip works better than under grip. Because less strain will be there on traps muscles.
  4. Lift the weight by putting force from your leg as if you are performing a deadlift.
  5. Your barbell should be at your knee level and your spine should be erect.
  6. Your legs should be extended and stand straight by holding the barbell.
  7. Your aim should be to raise your shoulders to your ears and lift the barbell by pulling your shoulders.
  8. Exhale and return your barbell to the starting position.
  9. Remember to keep your back straight throughout the workout.

See also: How to Master Incline Dumbbell Press Form – 2021

Barbell Shrugs Variations

Reverse Grip Shrug

The entire form is the same as that of a standard barbell shrug. Except here, you have to use reverse grip form and lift the barbell by shrugging your shoulder. This variation helps with mind-muscle contractions.

Resistance Band or Dumbbell Shrugs

How to do Barbell Shrugs: Get the Best Guide in 2021

Instead of a barbell, you can try alternatives like a resistance band or dumbbell. The variation form is the same except the weight will be lower and a full range of motion is achieved with this form.

Common Mistakes

How to do Barbell Shrugs: Get the Best Guide in 2021

Poor Position of Neck

Your neck position should be neutral. Neither too forward nor too backward. Keeping improper neck position will always give you strain spine and muscular tension. Also, select lower weight so that your neck remains neutral.

Back Swinging

If you have too many problems in maintaining your erect back then lower the weight. Keeping arched back or swinging them during shrug will cause unnecessary stress on your back muscles. Use back pad to gain momentum and proper back connection. Or avoid using a barbell and prefer a dumbbell for doing better shrug.

See also: Preacher Curls: How to Do it and Achieve 3 Important Benefits

Rolling Shrugs

The proper method of barbell shrug is to have a vertical shrug in a controlled motion. Avoid rolling or rotating shrug. Because rolling will not benefit you from muscle contraction and will give you stress on the rotator cuffs and neck. Also, there is no purpose for rolling shrug except it does makes your movement easy throughout the workout.


How to do Barbell Shrugs: Get the Best Guide in 2021
  1. You will attain many benefits of doing a barbell shrug and one major this is your body will achieve a complete and bigger look.
  2. The workout will give you mountainous traps with a fit upper body.
  3. Training on traps will definitely make you stand out and commanding and people will surely notice you for that amazing aesthetic look.
  4. Posterior chain muscles are less focused muscles and focusing on them and traps will give you a strong posterior chain They will also help your performance in workouts like deadlifts, squats and pullovers.
  5. A barbell shrug is a key to stabilizing your shoulder and strengthening your hamstrings.

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