Dumbbell Incline Shrug

Dumbbell Incline Shrug

The Dumbbell Incline Shrug is a compound exercise that primarily targets the upper back and shoulder muscles. This exercise is performed using dumbbells and an adjustable incline bench. By elevating the upper body on an incline, you can effectively isolate and engage the muscles of the upper traps and rhomboids. To perform the Dumbbell Incline Shrug, start by setting the incline bench to approximately 45 degrees. Sit back on the bench and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing your body. Keeping your arms straight, retract your shoulder blades and lift your shoulders upward as high as possible. Squeeze your upper back muscles at the top of the movement and hold for a brief pause. Then, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. The Dumbbell Incline Shrug is a great exercise to develop strength and muscularity in the upper back, while also improving shoulder stability. It can be particularly helpful for athletes involved in overhead sports, such as tennis or basketball, as it targets the muscles responsible for scapular retraction and upward rotation. By incorporating this exercise into your routine, you can help alleviate upper back pain, improve posture, and enhance overall upper body strength. As with any exercise, it's important to choose an appropriate weight that challenges you without sacrificing proper form. Start with lighter dumbbells and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and stronger. Remember to keep your core engaged and maintain proper posture throughout the movement. Include the Dumbbell Incline Shrug in your upper body workouts to add variety and target those hard-to-reach upper back muscles.


  • Begin by setting an adjustable bench to a 30-45 degree incline.
  • Sit on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body.
  • Let the dumbbells hang down by your sides, keeping your arms straight.
  • With a slight bend in your elbows, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Hold the contracted position for a brief pause, squeezing your trapezius muscles.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Maintain proper form at all times to avoid injury.
  • Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercise.
  • Focus on squeezing and holding the shoulder blades at the top of the movement to fully engage the muscles.
  • Use a controlled and deliberate motion both during the upward and downward phase of the exercise.
  • Ensure that your wrists are neutral and aligned with your forearms to avoid strain.
  • Engage your core throughout the exercise for stability and to protect your lower back.
  • Allow for adequate rest between sets to allow your muscles to recover.
  • As with any exercise, make sure to warm up properly before starting to prevent injury.
  • Listen to your body and don't push through severe pain or discomfort during the exercise.
  • Consider incorporating variations of the dumbbell incline shrug, such as using resistance bands or performing single-arm shrugs, to challenge your muscles in different ways.


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