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How to Do Dumbbell Shrug

The Dumbbell Shrug exercise is very effective for pumping the trapezoid. By doing it correctly, you can quickly see grow your trap muscle.

dumbbell shrugs exercises
How to do dumbbell shrugs

Anatomy Traps Muscle

The trapezius muscles run in the upper back and neck.

They are separated into three parts:

  1. Upper, which is located in the neck;
  2. Middle, which is located at the top of the shoulder blades;
  3. Lower, which takes place between the shoulder blades and below them.
  • Upper part

This is exactly the part that people mean when they talk about trapezoids. It is very clearly visible in contrast to the other two. Located in the neck (the same bumps muscle on both sides). Trained with all kinds of shoulder lifts (shrug). The main exercises include such an exercise as shrugs. You can perform them with different equipment: barbells, dumbbells and in all kinds of simulators.

  • Middle part

This part cannot be pumped separately. There are no special exercises to pump this part of the muscles. But she is actively involved in performing various rows in an incline for training the back and deltas. Since its main function is to bring the shoulder blades together.

  • Bottom part

This part of muscle includes work if the weight is located above the head. That is, these are variation shoulder presses.

Let’s focus on the upper part of the trapezius muscle since it can be trained with both conventional and isolation exercises.

The Technique of Execution Shrug

  • You can do both with the dumbbell in front of you, and with the barbell behind your back, for front traps and rear traps.
    And if the barbell is behind, you the pump rear traps. Although, to be honest, the difference is not essential.
Dumbbell Shrugs Exercises
Dumbbell Shrugs Exercises
  • If the weight of the dumbbells is quite heavy, then I advise you to use the hand straps. In order not to be distracted by the grip. But no matter how heavy the weight was, it should be such that you can make at least 8 repetitions. And you need to do it before feeling burning in the trapezoid. Only then will the result.
  • If you tilt the back slightly, the load will move from the top of the trapezoids to their lower fibers (those closer to the scapula). And the stronger the slope of the body, the lower the load shifts.

It is desirable to work in full amplitude. Maximizing the muscles at the bottom, and lingering for a moment at the very top.

Exercises on the trapezoid can be done at the end of the workout on the back or shoulders. Since in many exercises on the shoulders work the same way and trapezium.

Try not to bend your arms in the elbows. In this case, the hands play simply the role of the ropes that connect your shoulders with the dumbbell.

| Read more How to Seated Dumbbell Shrugs

Upright Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell Shrug is a great alternative if you don’t like doing barbell exercises. Moreover, there are some differences. When working with dumbbells, we work out each muscle separately (left and right side). This reduces the imbalance between them, which will be a positive result for us. Also, dumbbell rows are less traumatic than the same option with a barbell. Since the weight of the dumbbells will be much less.

Weight and Repetitions for Beginners

  • For men: 10 – 15 repetitions of 20 – 30 kg. 2 – 3 approaches.
  • For women: 10 – 15 repetitions of 10 – 20 kg. 2 – 3 approaches.

Execution technique:

  1. Take dumbbells and hold them together. Feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, body standing upright without bending forward. Hands down. It is not necessary to stretch the trapezoid at the starting point, so as not to exclude it from movement. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale and hold your breath, begin to raise your arms up, by contracting the deltas and trapezius muscle. We pull the dumbbells to the level of the chin. In this case, the elbows should be above shoulder level. At the top point, we exhale and strain the trapezium as much as possible.
  3. After a short pause, lower the dumbbells to their original position.


In this article, we talked about 2 of the most popular exercises with dumbbells for pumping traps. These exercises can be performed both at home and in the gym. In order to do the exercise at home, it is enough to replace the dumbbells with water bottles that have a handle.

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