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Barbell Overhead Shrug

Barbell Overhead Shrug

The Barbell Overhead Shrug is a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. It is an effective way to develop strength and stability in the traps, deltoids, and upper back muscles, while also engaging the core for stability. To perform the Barbell Overhead Shrug, you will begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasping a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. With the barbell resting on the front of your thighs, exhale as you raise the barbell directly overhead by extending your arms. Keep your elbows extended, and do not allow the barbell to rest on your head or neck. Once you have reached the top position, you will perform a shrugging motion by pulling your shoulders up towards your ears while keeping your arms straight. Hold the contraction for a brief moment before lowering the shoulders back down in a controlled manner. It's important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Avoid excessive leaning backward or forward, and ensure that your core is engaged to stabilize your spine. Start with a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with proper form and gradually increase the weight as your strength improves. The Barbell Overhead Shrug can be an effective addition to your upper body workout routine, helping to improve posture, shoulder stability, and overall upper body strength. As with any exercise, it's essential to listen to your body and consult with a fitness professional for personalized guidance and to ensure proper execution of the movement.


  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell placed on your upper back, behind your head.
  • Grip the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your arms straight, lift the barbell by shrugging your shoulders upwards.
  • Hold the shrug for a second at the top, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the barbell back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the movement, with a neutral spine and engaged core.
  • Start with lighter weights to ensure proper technique and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable.
  • Exhale as you lift the barbell overhead, and inhale as you lower it back down.
  • Don't rush the movement - control the barbell throughout the entire range of motion.
  • Engage your traps and shrug your shoulders towards your ears at the top of the movement for maximum contraction.
  • Ensure that your grip on the barbell is secure and comfortable, without placing excessive stress on your wrists.
  • Utilize a full range of motion by fully extending your arms overhead and retracting your scapulae.
  • Incorporate variety by alternating between a pronated and supinated grip to target different muscle fibers.
  • Always warm up before performing heavy overhead shrugs to prevent injuries.
  • Listen to your body, and if you experience any pain or discomfort during the exercise, consult with a fitness professional for guidance.

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