Barbell Shrug (usually called simply the shrug) is an isolation exercise in weight training used to develop the upper trapezius muscle.


  1. Set up for the standing barbell shrug by loading up the weight you want to use on a straight bar or Olympic bar.
  2. Stand facing the bar with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing down), with your hands about shoulder width apart.
  4. Bending at the knees only, pick the barbell up off the floor.
  5. Keeping the barbell close to your body, let your shoulders "sag" as far as possible. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  6. Slowly shrug your shoulders up as far as possible.
  7. Pause, and then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  8. Repeat for desired reps.

​Shrug Tips:

  1. Focus on lifting the weight with your traps and not your biceps.
  2. Pausing at the top of the barbell shrug makes the exercise more challenging and you'll get more out of it. Try and pause for a count of 1-3 at the top of each rep.
  3. There's no benefit to roll your shoulders forward or back when you shrug - that's a myth!
  4. Just raise the barbell straight up and straight down.