Lever Shrug (bench press machine)

Lever Shrug (bench press machine)

The Lever Shrug, performed on the bench press machine, is a dynamic exercise that targets the trapezius muscles, primarily the upper and middle fibers. This exercise is highly effective in building strength and improving muscular endurance in the shoulders and upper back. By engaging these muscle groups, the Lever Shrug helps to enhance overall posture and upper body stability. The bench press machine provides a stable platform for executing the Lever Shrug, ensuring proper form and reducing the risk of injury. As you begin the exercise, you'll activate your trapezius muscles by retracting your scapulae and pulling your shoulders back. Maintaining a neutral spine and engaging the core will optimize your posture throughout the movement. The Lever Shrug primarily involves a shrugging motion, where you raise your shoulders towards your ears while keeping your arms straight. Focus on squeezing your trapezius muscles at the top of the movement before slowly releasing back to the neutral starting position. To make the Lever Shrug more challenging, you can increase the weight on the bench press machine or perform the exercise unilaterally using one arm at a time. It's important to maintain a controlled movement throughout to maximize the benefits and prevent any jerking or swinging motions. Incorporating the Lever Shrug into your workout routine can contribute to a stronger and more defined upper back, improving your overall functional fitness and posture. As with any exercise, it's important to prioritize proper form, gradually increase weight/resistance, and listen to your body to prevent overexertion or injury.


  • Adjust the seat of the bench press machine to a comfortable height.
  • Sit on the machine with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Grasp the handles of the machine with an overhand grip, making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Inhale and retract your shoulder blades, pulling them back and down.
  • Exhale and slowly raise your shoulders toward your ears by pushing up on the handles.
  • Hold the contraction for a brief moment at the top of the movement.
  • Inhale and slowly lower your shoulders back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Remember to maintain control throughout the exercise and avoid using momentum.
  • Keep your core engaged and maintain proper posture throughout the exercise.

Tips & Tricks

  • Ensure proper form and technique to avoid injury. Keep your back straight and your shoulder blades retracted throughout the exercise.
  • Engage your core muscles by slightly bracing your abs and maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Focus on the upward phase of the movement, squeezing your shoulder blades together to activate the upper back muscles effectively.
  • Avoid hunching your shoulders or shrugging excessively during the exercise. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down throughout the movement.
  • Use a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain control and full range of motion.
  • Breathe naturally and avoid holding your breath. Exhale during the exertion phase and inhale during the release.
  • To target different muscles, vary your grip width by using a wide, narrow, or neutral grip.
  • Consider incorporating pauses at the top of the movement to enhance muscle activation and control.
  • Add variety to your routine by incorporating different exercises that target the same muscle groups. This helps prevent plateauing and keeps your workouts interesting.
  • Don't neglect other exercises that target the upper back, such as rows and pull-ups, to ensure balanced muscle development.


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