- Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
- Grasp the barbell in front of you with a closed, pronated grip (palms facing you).
- Grip width should be wider than shoulder width to the sides of your outer thighs
- Keep the elbows fully extended (with a slight bend in them) allowing the bar to hang below.
- Stand with torso erect, keep a slight bend in the knees, and look straight ahead.
Upward movement/concentric phase:
- Shrug your shoulders, lifting the bar as high as possible while keeping your arms extended.
- Maintain the torso straight up and keep looking straight ahead.
Downward movement/eccentric phase:
- In a controlled fashion, slowly lower shoulders to bring the bar back to starting position.
FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Shrug Front
What Is A Barbell Front Shrug?
A barbell shrug is a resistance exercise, which targets the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle. This exercise can be performed with an Olympic bar or other barbell alternative.
The concentric portion of the lift is scapular elevation. The eccentric portion is scapular depression as the bar is lowered.
The purpose of the barbell shrug is to strengthen and develop the upper fibers of the trapezius.
Why Do A Barbell Front Shrug?
Barbell shrugs are a staple exercise to strengthen and develop the upper trapezius. 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, shrugs also complement weightlifting and sport performance.
Anatomy Of A Barbell Front 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 deltoid, rhomboids, triceps brachii and biceps brachii stabilize the shoulder girdle as the arms are fully extended holding the barbell. The rotator cuff muscles, particularly the supraspinatus, help to hold the humerus in place as the scapula elevates and depresses throughout the shrugging motion. The wrist flexors maintain the wrists rigid and stabilized throughout the exercise.
Variations Of A Barbell Front Shrug
Behind-the-back barbell shrug, dumbbell shrug, hex bar shrug, Smith machine shrug, one-arm Smith machine shrug, cable shrug.
How To Improve Your Barbell Front Shrugs
Strategically varying your barbell positioning (in front of the body, behind-the-back) can optimize the muscle fiber recruitment of the upper trapezius. Performing shrugs with dumbbells and hex bars are additional variations to optimize muscle fiber recruitment of the upper trapezius muscle. 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 Barbell Front Shrugs
Using momentum to lift the bar (e.g. jerking the torso, elbows, 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.
Bending the elbows during the exercise minimizes the activation of the trapezius and places greater emphasis on the biceps muscle group. Keep arms fully extending with just a slight bend in the elbow to ensure maximal activation of the trapezius.
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 Barbell Front 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.