This is the primary exercise that I use to build and strengthen my traps. Often overlooked, the traps help provide a balanced, solid look to the upper body.
I actually like the fact that this exercise is a very short movement. I find that the short range of motion and strong position of the exercise allows me to really hit a very high level of intensity that get my adrenalin flying. When I workout I really want my youthful hormones to surge and I feel like an intense set of shoulder shrugs helps me achieve this.
At some point I will do a video of shoulder shrugs with a barbell inside of a squat rack. I consider this exercise a personal favorite and at the age of 41 I recently hit a new record high of 505 lbs. As a natural, older 173 lb. guy, I am really proud of this and that makes me want to do it even more.
As with all exercises not figuring out the proper form can result in injury. Because it is a short range of motion a lot of weight can be used and more weight generally means more risk if something goes wrong. I have seen some people try to pull the weight up in front of their bodies and end up tipping forward or excessively rolling their shoulders. Getting the weight in line with your center of gravity is very important.
As with most exercise momentum can be an issue with this exercise. Keeping the body tight and still can really help isolate and lessen the opportunity of injury. Be careful!
You will notice in my videos that I actually show a warmup set and a real intense set for my abilities. I do this to help illustrate what intensity looks like as I really feel that it is misunderstood and underutilized.
Form & Safety
As always form and safety is extremely important. Injury is always possible. I have been doing movements like this for 26 years and adding weight is natural for me. Use caution and consult professionals. But keep in mind rule 2! Intensity is one of the rules I have lived by for over 26 years.
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I have kept lean and athletic for over 26 years by creating a demand for calories and eating sensibly. Working muscle, growing muscle and sustaining muscle all take calories! With a sensible diet, the extra calorie demand allows me to burn off calories that might otherwise be stored as fat.
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