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Barbell Shrugs

This Shoulder Exercise isolates your Trapezius Muscles, piling Weight on a Barbell

Welcome to our Barbell Shrugs Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you'll learn how to do this shoulders exercise using the correct technique. Below you'll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Routines.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this deltoid and trapezius exercise made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name:Barbell Shrugs
Main Muscle:Trapezius
Secondary Muscle(s):N/A
Exercise Type:Isolation, Pull
Equipment Required:Barbell

Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulders exercise is one of our Barbell Exercises and allows you to pile on weight while isolating your trapezius muscles or "traps." During the lift, you load a barbell and shrug your shoulders holding the weight. Focus on only moving at the shoulder joint, not at the elbows, and keeping your feet flat on the floor.

You can also do shrugs as a Dumbbell Exercise or Cable Exercise.

barbell shrugs
barbell shrugs

To Perform this Shoulder Exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grasp a barbell with an overhand (palms facing your thighs) shoulder width grip. This will be your starting position.
  2. Using only your shoulders, exhale and raise your shoulders (shrug) up as far as you can.
  3. Pause for a moment then inhale and slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. Rotate your shoulders from front to back in a semi-circular motion if it helps you feel the exercise in your traps. This is an alteration and is not required.
  2. Keep your feet firmly on the floor throughout the exercise. It may help to bend your knees slightly as you perform the exercise.
  3. Use wrist wraps for better grip if you are having difficulty holding the weight.
  4. Concentrate on only moving at the shoulder joint to complete each repetition. Focus on not using your arms in any way.

Now that you've seen Barbell Shrugs, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises! Or, check out some of our most popular shoulder exercises and other related pages below.


Most Popular Deltoid and Trapezius Exercises:

Check out some of our other popular Shoulder Exercises and Variations:


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