The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring

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Written By Samarjit Sinha

Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

The Top of Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are missing out!

Barbell shrugs are great exercises which can increase your upper back thickness and strength.

A form of barbell shrug is known as power shrug, which is often favoured by athletes to generate power.

barbell shrugs benefitsPower shrug is also known as low-pull from the hang.

Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow

Barbell Shrugs Benefits

Also, there is another useful variation of barbell shrugs known as jump shrugs.

This jump shrug is known for increasing your strength and explosive power.

I will advise you to use an Olympic barbell/28 mm barbell in your home gym.

You might need some rubber flooring in case you drop any weights on the floor.

PS: Dumbbell shrugs are a barbell shrug alternative exercise which can introduce more range of motion and muscle mass.
But barbell shrugs are the best when it comes to increase your strength and explosiveness.
The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 1

They are a great way to increase strength and muscle mass

Barbell shrugs are beneficial because they work the traps, which is important for powerlifters, bodybuilders, athletes, and anyone looking to build muscle mass.

Get a Stronger Back

The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 2Barbell shrugs are the best way to build a stronger back.

The benefits of doing so include improving posture, preventing injuries, and increasing speed and strength in other lifts.

However, to develop a stronger back yours should do some more exercises like pull-ups, bent over rows etc.

Preventing Injuries and neck pain

Strong traps are essential for preventing injuries in various areas of the body, and barbell shrugs are a great way to build neck strength and stability.

This is significant for sports like football, rugby, hockey, and contact sports where players are susceptible to neck injuries.

A strong traps muscle will also you’re doing bench press, overhead press etc.

Arnold doing barbell shrugs

Carry Over Benefits

  • Shrugging with hex bars can help improve performance in the snatch and clean & jerk. A jump shrug almost feels like doing an Olympic lift half way.
  • Barbell shrugs or even dumbbell shrugs can help improve grip strength. And you will need your grip strength for almost any workout that you do.
  • Shrugs can help improve shoulder stability and mobility.

Get a bigger back.jpegA Bigger Back

Shrugs with some other workouts like barbell row can give you a bigger back.

While heavy shrugs can develop the upper back and pull-ups, the barbell row will build the rest of your back.

Improved Upper Back Strength

The benefits of improved upper back strength achieved through exercises like the barbell shrug include a reduced risk of injury in other exercises and activities, better performance in compound exercises, and increased overall strength.

Improved Olympic Lifting Ability

The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 3Shrugs help improve power and performance in Olympic lifts by ensuring a vertical bar path and allowing the lifter to reach full extension.

Ever clean, hang clean etc starts with a shrug, so getting better at this is a no-brainer.

Stronger, More Stable Neck Muscles

The article discusses the benefits of stronger, more stable neck muscles, which can help reduce neck pain. Neck training is more common in contact sports, but can also be helpful in bodybuilding.

Dumbbell shrugs in particular really help your traps and neck muscles.Are resistance bands good for building muscle

Improved Physique

Shoulder shrugs are a great exercise for building strength and muscle in your upper back, neck and shoulders.

Since shoulder shrugs develop your traps, thus they will help your physique.

With a large shoulder and neck, you will definitely look great with a shirt or without it.

Shrugs can also help build strength in your shoulder muscles and arms.

They can be performed by most fitness levels and modified for different levels of strength.

Shrug anatomy

What is the correct form for doing barbell shrugs?

Step 1: Set-up

The individual should load the barbell with the correct weight before starting, and then stand with their feet shoulder-width apart. They should grab the barbell with an overhand grip and shrug their shoulders up towards their ears, keeping their arms straight.

Step 2: Shrug the bar

Shrug the bar as far as you can reach, towards your ear. Avoid rotating the shoulder or bending the elbow, and keep the torso straight.

Step 3: Lower the bar

When performing shrugs, it is important to lower the barbell slowly and under control in order to avoid injury. Pushing the weight down with your arms will ensure that the bar reaches the bottom position.

Step 4: Repeat

Just repeat the upward and downward motion for a few reps, and you are done. If you are using a moderate weight, then you can go for 3*10 reps. And for heavier sessions, get weights around 80-90% one rep max for sets of 3*5 or 5*5.

barbell shrug demo

Common Mistakes with Barbell Shrugs

Not keeping a Neutral Spine

If you cannot keep a neutral spine while performing barbell shrugs, you may use a hex bar. Hex bar shrugs allow for more accurate and effective performance than other equipment when it comes to shoulder shrugs.

Raise the shoulder towards your ears as much as you can

When performing barbell shrugs, it is essential to raise the shoulders high enough so that the weight hangs off the traps.

Jeff showing shrug movementPause at the peak of the contracted position

It is critical to hold the contracted position at the top of the lift when performing barbell shrugs because this helps to ensure that the muscles are working properly.

Additionally, holding the position for a brief moment helps to prevent injury by allowing the muscles to adjust to the new position gradually.

Do a full rep with full range of motion

Always do a full range of motion while doing shrugs. If you can not, then reduce the weight and try.

A full range of motion is a lot more beneficial than half doing the reps.

How Much Weight Should I Use for the Barbell Shrug?

Barbell shrugs offer a number of benefits, including increased trap development, improved grip strength and better range of motion. The weight used for these shrugs should be heavy enough to cause muscular fatigue within 8-15 repetitions.

Are Barbell Shrugs for Beginners?

Barbell shrugs are an excellent exercise for beginners, as they are safe as long as proper form is followed.

Beginners can load heavy weights on the barbell as well, and it should make them progress faster as well.

Can the Barbell Shrug Build the Neck Muscles?

You can target the front or back of your neck, depending on the position of your head.

This exercise is not a direct neck exercise and can also target the smaller muscles in your neck.

The barbell shrug works on the trap muscles, thus it will aid the neck muscles.

Additionally, working the front of the neck can help prevent muscle imbalances.

Who Should Perform the Barbell Shrug?

Strength and Power Athletes

The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 4Doing shrugs helps these athletes reach their full potential by directly targeting the muscles used in their main lifts.

There is also one variant of shrugs known as jump shrug which is known for its explosiveness.

Bodybuilders and Physique Athletes

Dumbbell shrugs in particular can help you evade muscle imbalances and target specific trap muscles. Thus, bodybuilders can sculpt their shoulders how they want them to be.

It allows athletes to lift a great deal of weight, making it ideal for people of all levels.

General Fitness

The barbell shrug is a good exercise for people who want to improve their general fitness because it targets the mid to upper back region.

How Many Reps and Sets of Barbell Shrugs Should I do to Build Strength?

Muscular fatigue should be felt after 8-15 repetitions of barbell shrugs.

If you cannot do more than 20 reps with proper form, you should decrease the weight. Supersets and AMRAP workouts are great ways to increase strength.

[Benefits of barbell curls]

Aim to do 100 reps in each individual set in order to build strength. Rest 60 seconds between sets in order to make the workout harder.

The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 5

Muscles Worked by the Barbell Shrug

Upper and Mid Trapezius

Barbell or dumbbell shrugs train the upper back muscles just below the neck. This trapezius muscle is responsible for your neck and upper back health.

Levator Scapulae

The levator scapulae is a skeletal muscle that works along with rhomboids, pectoralis minor to manage the movement of the scapula.

Forearms and other stabilizer muscles

You have to hold the weight in your arms, and thus your forearms get worked up while you do shrugs. Jump shrugs or power shrugs will work on more stabilizer muscles than a standard dumbbell shrug.

Get Traps like Bane

Different types of shrugs exercises done with barbell

Different types of shrugs exercise will hit the muscles differently. Thus, check which fits well for you by doing them in your home gym.

And always check for YouTube videos to check the proper way to do shoulder shrugs.

Behind the Back, Barbell Shrugs

To perform the shrug, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a barbell behind you with an overhand grip.

The behind-the-back barbell shrug is a shoulder and triceps exercise. And as per many this builds the trap muscles thicker than the regular version.

A toned down version can be the behind-the-back cable shrugs.

Heavy Barbell Shrugs

Heavy barbell shrugs are often chosen by athletes who want to increase their shoulder strength.

best bodybuilding Supplements in IndiaA barbell is easy to load, thus this should build strength and size in your shoulder muscles.

Heavy weightlifters, powerlifters, and athletes who need to build bigger traps or stronger lats all benefit from shrugging heavy weights.

Shrugs are also beneficial for those athletes who require a lot of strength.

Heavy shrugs can be performed on a single leg if unilateral loading is something an athlete finds interesting and beneficial.

Jump Shrugs

Jump shrugs as the name suggested include movements like jumping or triple extension. It is almost like doing an Olympic lift but half the way. Thus, it can work out your entire body and can be considered a compound exercise.

[barbell shrugs vs dumbbell shrugs]

The Top 9 Barbell Shrugs Benefits that you are ignoring 6

Trap bar shrugs vs barbell shrugs

Trap bar shrugs vs barbell shrugs

With a barbell you need to either do a front shrug or a reverse shrug. But with a hex trap bar, your arms are vertically down on the side of your body.

They are not in the front, not in the back but in the sides.

Trap bar shrugs benefits

Carry More weight

Researches like this confirm that with hex trap bars, you can lift more weight than a traditional barbell.

Bar do not touch your body

If you are using a hex bar, the bar does not touch your body at all. It gives you enough room and works really well.

Perform shrugs more accurately

Since the bar does not touch your body and your arms stay neutral to your body, you can perform shrugs more accurately.

Load up the trap bar!


How do you do barbell shrugs properly?

Your body should be upright, with your knees bent and your back straight.

At no point during the exercise should you rotate your shoulders; this could result in an injury.

The movement should come from raising upwards through the shoulder blades, and keeping them stable.

Start by using lighter weights so that you can get the form right, and then add more weight as necessary.

Shrugs should be done with slow and controlled movements to avoid injury. Choose a lighter weight so that you do not over-train your muscles.

What are some barbell shrug alternatives?

Dumbbell drugs are the best barbell shrug alternatives. Check these 15 Back Exercises With Barbell and Dumbbells.

What is the importance of barbell shrugs?

The importance of barbell shrugs cannot be understated. This exercise is great for developing traps and building muscle.

When done properly, barbell shrugs allow you to lift a lot of weight, which leads to more muscle growth.

What are some tips for doing barbell shrugs?

It is important to ensure that your form is correct when doing barbell shrugs and that you do not raise your shoulders too high. 

Your body position should be upright, with your knees slightly bent and your back straight.

You should not rotate your shoulders and keep them stable. 

The movement should come from raising upwards through the shoulder blades, not rotating them.

To activate the upper and lower traps more, higher reps should be used. Do the movement slowly, which will increase the time under tension for the traps.

More muscle control, time-under-tension will increase your shoulder strength and size.

If you are an office worker and doing workouts in your home gym, then you should do shrugs. Especially if you are working on a desk for long hours.
As per research shoulder strengthening exercises helps with neck pain and stability.

About The Skinny Author


Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body-building-type workouts!

I canceled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workouts. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I could access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget-friendly home gym machines, and nutrition to buy as per your goals here in

If you have question then contact me here

Ps: The author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment, and setting up the home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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