Trap Bar Shrug Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Trap Bar
  • Isolation
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Shoulders, Traps
Traps Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Trap Bar Shrug Overview

The trap bar shrug is a variation of the barbell shrug and an exercise used to isolate the traps.

The main difference in a trap bar shrug is the hand placement and bar used. By utilizing a neutral hand placement, you’ll be able to maintain proper posture, avoid shoulder impingement, and utilize a heavy load to target the muscles of the traps.

Trap Bar Shrug Instructions

  1. Position the safeties just below waist height in a rack.
  2. Assume a standing position with your body positioned inside of the trap bar.
  3. Hinge forward, inhale, and grab the bar with a double overhand grip.
  4. Stand up tall and ensure your spine remains neutral.
  5. Contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Trap Bar 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. Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight. No one cares about how much you shrug.
  4. 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.
  5. Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind muscle connection.