Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Traps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Cable Shrug Overview

The cable shrug is a variation of the shrug and an exercise used to build the muscles of the traps.

Utilizing the cable pulley machine is useful in that it provides constant tension on the target muscle group as you move the weight through the range of motion.

Cable Shrug Instructions

  1. Set 2 cable handles as low as possible and assume a standing position with one handle in each hand.
  2. Inhale and contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the handles back to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Cable Shrug Tips

  1. Looking slightly up while shrugging may enhance the contraction as traps help to control movement of the skull. This motion should be smooth and controlled, as a ballistic movement could result in a neck injury.
  2. The traps tend to respond well to high reps and explosive movements (e.g. snatch grip high pulls) so program your accessory work accordingly.
  3. Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively as you squeeze the traps, this can put the neck in a compromised position and result in an injury.
  4. Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind muscle connection.
Posted on: Fri, 04/04/2014 - 18:27

I do this exercise but with the bar behind my back at a slight angle so it doesn't touch my body. It seems to work my traps and my traps look good.

Will O'Brien
Posted on: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:21

Im looking to build huge traps!