Shrugs with Dumbbells

Exercise details for Shrugs with dumbbells

  • Primary Muscle
    Traps
  • Equipment
    Bumbbell
  • Level
    Easy

Why Should You do Shrugs with Dumbbell?

Performing Shrugs with dumbbells instead of a barbell provides more flexibility in terms of grip and trajectory. Just lifting the barbell or dumbbells up and down will strain the upper part of your trapezius and give good results clearly visible from the front, but you will miss the lower parts of your trapezius if you only do the exercise this way. The lower parts build deep on the back.

Classic Dumbbell Shrug

Let your arms hang at the far side of your body and use a neutral grip around the dumbbells, palms of your hands facing the body. Pull back your shoulders and pinch the shoulder blades together while pushing your chest forward. Lean slightly forward. Look forward so that your neck is in a neutral position.

With straight arms, you now slowly pull your shoulders up towards your ears. Hold in the top position for a few seconds and squeeze your shoulder blades tightly before slowly lowering the weight back. Nothing on your body should move you but your shoulders that go up and down. Do not swing the rest of the body. Perform the movement slowly and hold the weight for a few seconds in the top position.

Different Versions

A variant of the exercise is to pull the dumbbells a little more obliquely upwards behind the body. Bend your arms slightly and let your elbows end up behind your back in the lift. As if you’re a cowboy pulling your gun. Hold for a few seconds in the top position before slowly reversing your arms.
You can also sit on the end of a bench. With your knees, lean forward slightly with a neutral back and start with the dumbbells in front of the knees. Pull the dumbbells straight back to the hip before lifting them obliquely upwards backward so that your elbows end up slightly behind your back. Hold for a few seconds before returning.

Tips for Shrugs with dumbbells

  • You get more flexibility for grip and movement with dumbbells instead of a barbell
  • Do not roll the shoulders; pull them obliquely backward when doing a Classic Shrug
  • Hold for up to 5 seconds in the top position and squeeze your shoulder blades
  • Do the exercise slowly
  • Do not use too much weight but do many reps instead
  • Keep the body still, do not rock it
  • Do each rep in the same way with “full range of motion”; otherwise, you will not see progress
  • Variant 1: You can also pull the dumbbells further back so that the elbows end up behind the body
  • Variant 2: Sit on the end of a bench. With your knees, lean slightly forward with a neutral back and start with the dumbbells in front of the knees. Pull the dumbbells straight back to the hip before lifting them obliquely upwards backward so that your elbows end up slightly behind your back. Hold for a few seconds before returning.

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