When it comes to building a great, all around, balanced physique, it can’t be denied that a set of great traps (trapezius) can really help to add the finishing touches to a great body, and really help create a powerful and muscular looking body. However, many people actually neglect their traps because there aren’t that many exercises available for stimulating these muscles, as well as the fact that some people tend to consider the exercises boring. Shrugs are generally considered to best trap exercises, particularly dumbbell shrugs. Dumbbell shrugs are carried out basically exactly as their name suggests, by shrugging whilst holding a set of dumbbells. It gets slightly more technical than that though, so here’s how to perform them correctly.
Begin by selecting a set of dumbbells that aren’t too heavy for you, but that aren’t too light either. Your grip strength will really be tested here, so choose a weight that you can safely grip onto the whole exercise.
Next, stand upright with your dumbbells hanging down next to you by your sides. Make sure that your feet are positioned wide enough so that the dumbbells hang comfortably, without resting on your legs.
Next, basically shrug your shoulders upwards as if you were signalling to somebody that you “don’t know” to somebody after they asked you a question.
Make sure that you don’t hunch forwards, and that you don’t bend your elbows.
Try to touch your ears with your traps, and hold this movement for a couple of seconds before lowering your shoulders back to the starting position.
It’s important that you stay upright at all times. If you find yourself hunching forwards, choose a lighter weight.
Shrugging whilst holding a weight means that your traps work harder than usual as they work against the heavy weight of the dumbbell. To get a rough idea of how this works, try shrugging one arm, whilst holding the muscle with the other. You’ll feel it tense up as you do so. Now, imagine that you’re holding a heavy weight in that hand, and you’ll understand.
Remember to make sure that your elbows aren’t bending, and that you aren’t resting the dumbbells against any part of your body.
If you’re still not sure how to properly perform this exercise, then take a look at this video for some helpful tips and advice.