Shrug Calf Raise Machine

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the height of the shoulder pads accordingly, allowing enough room for shrugging movement.
  2. Stand on the designated footpad of the machine with feet shoulder width apart.
  3. Place shoulders firmly underneath the pads.
  4. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  5. Stand with torso erect, keep a slight bend in the knees, extend your arms straight downward, and look straight ahead.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Shrug your shoulders, lifting the pads as high as possible.
  2. Maintain the torso straight up and keep looking straight ahead.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly lower shoulders to bring the pads back to starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric/phase phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Trapezius (upper fibers)
  • Synergists: Levator scapulae
  • Stabilizers: Rotator cuff muscles
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Scapular elevation
  • Equipment: Standing calf raise machine
  • Lever: 1st class lever
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Shrug Calf Raise Machine

    What Is A Calf Raise Machine Shrug?

    A calf raise machine shrug is a resistance exercise, which targets the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle. This exercise is performed at a standing calf raise machine using the shoulder pads as the resistance.

    The concentric portion of the lift is scapular elevation. The eccentric portion is scapular depression as the resistance is lowered.

    The purpose of the calf raise machine shrug is to strengthen and develop the upper fibers of the trapezius.

    Why Do A Calf Raise Machine Shrug?

    Calf raise machine shrugs strengthen and develop the upper trapezius. Performing shrugs on a standing calf raise machine allows the resistance to be placed directly onto the upper trapezius. This optimizes isolation of the upper trapezius as the hands are excluded. Developing the upper fibers of the trapezius complements the aesthetics of the upper back as the upper fibers of the trapezius can be seen from the front, side and back of the body.

    In addition to serving as an exercise that enhances the aesthetics of the upper back, calf machine shrugs also complement weightlifting and sport performance.

    Anatomy Of A Calf Raise Machine Shrug

    A flat and triangular muscle, the trapezius is the most superficial muscle of the posterior thorax. The superior (upper) fibers run downward to the scapula. The middle fibers run horizontally to the scapula. Its origin is located at the occipital bone, ligamentum nuchae, and spines of C7 and all thoracic vertebrae. Its insertion is located along the acromion and spine of the scapula and lateral region of the clavicle. The upper fibers elevate the scapula as in shrugging the shoulders. As a superficial muscle, developing the upper trapezius contributes to the overall aesthetics of the upper back.

    The levator scapulae is located underneath the trapezius at the back and side of the neck. Its origin is located at the transverse process of C1-C4 and inserts into the medial border of the scapula. The levator scapulae assists the upper fibers of the trapezius with scapular elevation.

    The rotator cuff muscles, particularly the supraspinatus, help to hold the humerus in place as the scapula elevates and depresses throughout the shrugging motion.

    Variations Of A Calf Raise Machine Shrug

    Barbell shrug, dumbbell shrug, hex bar shrug, Smith machine shrug, cable shrug.

    How To Improve Your Calf Raise Machine Shrugs

    Strategically varying your shrug exercises (e.g. dumbbell shrug, barbell shrug, hex bar shrug) can optimize the muscle fiber recruitment of the upper trapezius. Over time, this will enhance the strength and hypertrophy of the trapezius muscle.

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the shoulders shrug (imagine wanting to touch your ears with your shoulders).

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between back and shoulder training days to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Calf Raise Machine Shrugs

    Starting with a weight that is too heavy can have a negative impact on your technique and increase the risk of injury. Familiarize yourself with the technique using a lighter weight before increasing the load.

    Using momentum to lift the weight (e.g. jerking the torso or shoulders for assistance) minimizes the potential of force production of the involved muscles and can increase the risk for injury. It is important that both the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise are controlled.

    Tucking the chin into the chest during this exercise can increase the risk of neck injury. It is important to keep the neck in a neutral position, looking straight ahead, to ensure proper and safe technique.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Calf Raise Machine Shrugs

    If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the shoulder joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury.

    If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to rotator cuff injuries and/or lower back injuries may occur.