Shoulder shrug

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The shoulder shrug (usually called simply the shrug) is an exercise in weight training used to develop the upper trapezius muscle.

Form and execution[edit]

The lifter stands erect, hands about shoulder width apart, and raises the shoulders as high as possible, and then lowers them, while not bending the elbows, or moving the body at all. The lifter may not have as large a range of motion as in a normal shrug done for active flexibility. It is usually considered good form if the slope of the shoulders is horizontal in the elevated position.


A barbell, dumbbells or a smith machine may be used for resistance, and overhand, inside, outside, underhand or mixed grip can be used. The barbell can be held in front of the thighs, resting on the quadriceps, or behind, resting on the hamstrings. Using these excludes inside and outside grips. One or two dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands can also be used, together or opposite one another. A trapbar can also be used, necessitating an inside grip. Standing Calf raise machines can also be used to execute the shrugging movement, by resting the pads on the shoulders and trying to raise the shoulders as high as possible.