Barbell Shrugs Exercise Guide & Video

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on Pinterest

Watch Barbell Shrugs

For over 50 pre-designed workouts you can bring straight to the gym, view EMG’s Workout Routines.


Step 1. Hold a bar at about waist high with hands shoulder-width apart.

Step 2. Pull the weight upward by raising your shoulders. Raise your shoulders as close to your ears as possible. Move only your shoulders and do not sway.

Step 3. Squeeze the muscle at the top of the motion.

Step 4. Lower the weight to the original position. Repeat.


Barbell shrugs are a size and strength building exercise for the traps and can be performed in a variety of weights; this exercise is usually chosen when higher weight is desired. By having the weight on a barbell rather than dumbbells, the weight is less concentrated in the users hand, allowing for heavier weight. This exercise is often performed in a squat rack, with the safety bars set at arm’s length. This allows the user the safety of both having a shorter distance to pick the weight up from and being able to drop the weight if it becomes to heavy to hold. Barbell shrugs commonly performed with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width but may be performed with a wider or shorter grip depending on preference. A wider grip will work the traps closer to the shoulders and a shorter grip will work the traps closer to the neck.

Barbell Shrug 4
Barbell Shrug 3

Updated: March 30th, 2015