Smith Machine Shrugs Exercise Guide & Video

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

Watch Smith Machine Shrugs

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


Step 1. Grip a barbell on a Smith Machine at about waist level with hands shoulder-width apart.

Step 2. Pull the weight upwards by raising your shoulders, keeping your shoulders as close to your ears as possible.

Step 3. Squeeze the muscle at the top of the motion. Return the weight to the starting position.


The smith machine shrug is a size and strength building exercise for the traps. Shrugs can be performed in a variety of weights; the barbell shrug 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. The smith machine shrug is 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.

Smith Machine Shrug 4
Smith Machine Shrug 3

Updated: March 30th, 2015