Selen Dar

Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

Hey, guys. Sean Nalewanyj here at
– and in this video I’m going to be showing you how
to do shrugs the right way, so that you can target your mid and upper traps as effectively
as possible. Now the truth is that the traps are actually a hugely underrated muscle groups
that most lifters don’t place enough value on. You might think that building up a big
chest or big arms, that these are the most important things, like most people in the
gym do, but having a well developed set of traps actually makes a really big contribution
to your overall physique and in combination with well developed shoulders it’s really
going to give you that strong and powerful look, especially if you’re wanting to look
more muscular underneath clothes. Now there are a lot of different ways that you can train
the traps, but when it all comes down to it a properly executed shrug is still going to
be the most effective exercise you can do. Now the key phrase there is properly executed,
because even though a shrug pretty much seems like one of the most basic exercise you could
possibly do, since it’s really just “this motion”, almost everybody in the gym actually
does them incorrectly or at least does them in the way that doesn’t fully maximize their
effectiveness. Most people make at least one of two big mistakes. The first mistakes is
that they loaded way more weight than they can actually handle, and then they just balanced
the weight up and down using a bunch of momentum and only performing a little half or quarter
reps. Keep in mind that no one in the gym really cares how much you can shrug and doing
your shrugs in that way is just increasing your chance for injury and it’s not helping
you build your traps more effectively since your muscle respond to tension and they have
no idea how much weight you’re objectively lifting. A much better approach for stimulating
your traps is to focus on using lighter weights with a full range of motion and using a deliberate
controlled [inaudible] where you can really feel your traps working on each rep. The second
mistake is something that almost everyone does, which is shrugging the weight in a straight
up and down motion. Now the problem with shrugging straight up and down is that the primary muscle
involved when you do that is actually the levator scapulae rather than the traps, because
like the name implies, the function of the levator scapulae is to elevate the scapulae
which is what you’re doing when you shrug straight up and down. The traps obviously
still come into play during that motion but if you want to minimize the involvement of
the levator scapulae and maximize the activation of your traps, you actually want to shrug
in a diagonal motion so that you shoulders are being pulled both up and back toward the
midline of your body at the same time, and you can test this out for yourself right now,
try shrugging in the standard way, just going up and down. Just like this, and then see
how you traps feel and then try it out by going up and back at the same time. You should
notice a pretty big difference in the contraction that you feel. So if you want to learn how
to do shrugs in the most effective way then instead of just grabbing a really heavy set
of weights and heaving them straight up and down like most people do, it’s actually
much better to lighten up the weight and to perform more controlled reps using this modified
version of the shrug that I’m going to show you. Now I have talked about this before in
a previous video a while back, but I want to give you a few other form cues that I didn’t
mention before to make the exercise even more effective. So grab a pair of dumbbells and
hold them at a diagonal angle to your torso, so that they’re not directly in front of
your body and not directly at your sides but somewhere in the middle. Now after that, instead
of standing completely upright, you want to bend forward at the waist slightly so that
your body is angled forward, and you want to use a slightly wider grip by holding the
dumbbells about an inch or two outside of shoulder width. Most people hold the weight
at shoulder width, but you’ll find if you actively pressed the weight outward slightly
during the exercise, it keeps your traps even more active. The next step is to flexed you
neck slightly rather than looking up or straight ahead, that again is going to minimize levator
scapulae involvement and move more emphasis onto the traps. Now form this position shrug
the way up and back as far as you can, hold for a second and squeeze your traps hard and
then lower the weight back down under control. Once you get to the bottom really allow your
arms to hang forward and you should feel a good stretch in your upper traps when doing
that. Hold the weights again for a second in the bottom to get that stretch, and then
repeat the movement for about 8 to 10 reps in total. Now this traps exercise definitely
takes practice and it’ll probably be a few trap workouts before you really nailed it
down for yourself. Most people find that it does feel a little bit awkward at first, and
they can’t really feel the traps working, but just start out with lighter weights, focus
on technique and if you’re doing it properly then by the last few reps of the set your
traps should be really fired up and you should notice that they’re being worked a lot harder
than what you get from standard heavy straight up and down shrugs. I’d also really like
to use lifting straps or lifting hooks on this exercise because it takes the grip completely
out of the equation and you can just put a hundred percent of your focus on moving the
weight using your traps only. Again, keep the weight light here at the start. Remember
that your muscle only respond to tension, they have no idea how much weight you’re
actually using. Normally, personally I would probably do regular shrugs using about 120
pound dumbbells but for this variation I dropped it down to about 75 pound dumbbells and I
find that using the lighter weight and really controlling the exercise using all the tips
that I just outline, results in a better trap workout in comparison to just aiming for maximum
weight. So get this traps exercise a try and let me know what you think in the comments.
So, guys, thanks for watching if you want to learn all the details behind training all
of your major muscle groups, including step-by-step workout plans and other useful tips, make
sure to head over to and grab my Body Transformation Blueprint
System. You can do that by clicking up here at the top of the screen or by using the link
in the description box below. If you enjoy the video as always make sure to hit the like
button, leave a comment and subscribe to stay up to date on future videos. You can also
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me on social media here if you aren’t already. Talk to you guys again soon.

100 thoughts on “How To Do Shrugs The RIGHT Way For Maximum Trap Gains

  1. I just built trap size with deadlifts, rows and barbell shrugs with slight leg drive. I barely even pause at the top contraction, maybe for a second..and I got results..guess somethings don't work for others..but when I went light on my traps…zero gains.

  2. Fuck no slow and controlled works yeah but if you want to maximize growth you need to overload the traps too, plus this dude has no traps

  3. So you’ve got the time to hit the gym every day but not enough time to take down your Christmas tree in mid January? 😂

  4. Everyone here's talking about heavy shrugs or rack pulls. Sure it might bring your traps up but it also depresses your scapula and make you look shorter. Look it up.

  5. Thanks for this tip. I go heavy straight up and down and my traps aren't exploding like on steroids. Hopefully this tip will make my traps looks juiced when I'm not. I'm gonna try this out.

  6. Get this same basic form and motion using cable bar. (straight bar hooked to two cable stacks) Just step back slightly and you are pulling at a slight angle rather than straight up. Only problem I find is that even though the weights say 400lbs, (200 per side) It is easy enough that I can rep out 20 using strict form.

  7. I tried this today and it's true! I used much less weight, kept tight form, and felt a solid trap focused tension almost throughout. Some reps better than others, so you need a smooth, controlled movement and mental focus on traps. Really good.

  8. The upper trapezius does not elevate the shoulder, it was just a myth that was debunked back in 1994, they rotate the shoulders, when you do shrugs you are just doing 1% of the actual range of motion of the upper traps. If you want big traps then do overhead presses.

  9. Ive been doing this and similar movements for years without much success. If I had good genetics I would have probably see good gains. As a hard gainer, I’ve seen more trap growth doing 1 month of rack pulls than 20 years of doing the exercises above and similar movements.

  10. You should only work traps if they are a real weak point. Traps get hit every time you pick up a weight and normally develop along with the rest of your body. Specific trap work can easily overdevelop them which makes your shoulders look narrow and who needs that.

  11. A lot of arm bending.
    Just looks like a Dorian Yates row with dumbbells instead of a barbell.
    Shoulders to ears for shrugs. And in a Swiss machine, grab hands behind back.
    Best exercise for traps.
    Rack Pulls.
    Try holding 600lbs for 15seconds 5 times.

  12. Sean, first, a great instructional video. I will give the lean forward and squeeze back sequence a try next time On my traps day.

    In the meantime, I wanted to get your thoughts about how I do my workout. I do a "run the rack" unilateral variation two days a week (Tuesday and Friday) I do three sets of a 15, 12, 10, 8 sequence using kettle bells (35 lbs – 50 lbs. the back down to the starting weight) I realize I am lighter weights than what you recommend, but using my format I am doing a total 90 reps per set. I'd like to know what is your honest opinion of how I approach my traps routine.

  13. I always disliked shrugs, the rom is very short and it’s hard to overload without straps. Farmers walks and rack pulls above the knee are a better option imo.

  14. I find barbell shrugs with a bit of english for 4×15 works best for me. Using straps and let the the traps catch the weight really help stretching it out. been doing it for three months, twice a week and see good results.


  16. Cheat shrugs are insanely effective lol, not only my experience (for example I've seen Alex AlphaDestiny videos on topic).

  17. Carrying heavy weights in your hands for time will build traps better than this bullshit ass workout 😂

  18. I don't get it, I do exactly the same (at least it looks exactly the same) with 20kg dumbbells but can do that 1000 times in a row, it's easy as f wth?

  19. A great way to do it like you say here is to use a Barbell, i did it today and to shrug with a barbell you have to naturally lean a little forward to allow the range of motion and thus hit the traps like you say here.

  20. Great vid… I do use this motion in the exact fashion except I am seated… I will now do them standing for a while my traps are good, but I will drop the weight a few lbs as you suggested… Thanks…

  21. Hahaha rack pulls are the king, powersrughs work. Just look alphadestiny, hes traps are twice your size. ITS ALL ABOUT WEIGHTED STERTCH,

  22. Why is his head photoshopped unto someone else's body. He's a fraud. If your system works then show images of your huge traps on your video link!

  23. Sorry, but I didn't really see the up and back movement that you made a a big deal about, It was more straight up, but without the backward movement albeit that you're bent at the waist slightly. Regardless, I will give this a try.

  24. I did this midway through regular dumbell shrugs felt strange. Ill try it again solo next shoulder day to see how it feels.

  25. Thanks for the info ,I already have a nice trap ,the guys in the gym trying to catch up with me ,now I have a secret weapons they're never going to get close lol

  26. I started with this variation earlier this year and I had to bring thecweight down a lot, but my traps have really grown. No more pencil neck

  27. Yes you can do them straight up and down "but". It's what comes after the "but" that makes all the difference. True you would still be lifting all thaae weight but not targeting the traps as effectively as up and back. Thanks for the little adjustments.

  28. Is it normal that the muscles sting/burn when doing this exercise? It's a very unusual form of pain I get when doing these.

  29. Does it benefit you to work out the levator scapulae? I want to have more of an angle shape from my shoulder to my neck (from the front view). Is that traps or levator scapulae?

  30. I think he mentioned it before, but if your elbows start to bend (too much) during this, that's a good sign to drop weight because you're recruiting your tris and bis to complete the motion. Form before weight!

  31. Hey guys, just an FYI that I've started posting a ton more on Instagram, so if you liked the video and want more daily no B.S, science-based tips from me, make sure to follow here:


  32. I have a huge concern with this method. Resting and stretching in the bottom position is dangerous in my opinion. The reason is that if you relax in this position, the weight is borne by the ligaments. And ligaments are relatively weak, so I predict an eventual neck injury, including, perhaps, a disc herniation. I suggest, NOT relaxing and stretching at the bottom. And, in fact, also, stopping short of the bottom position. Overall, however, I think Sean is excellent as an instructor. Thanks, Sean.

  33. I came from a football team were we all power shrugged 300-500 pounds for sets, but I’ve been hitting my traps exactly how you do them with 70-95 LB DB’s because it’s fast when my gyms crowded. They seem to be as effective but I miss my clean 315 shrugs from high school football

  34. Great video Sean. I've been trying it the way you prescribe (which is the best), but have struggled with balance and maintaining proper angles in controlling the dumbbells, esp. when I'm fatigued, so I tried them using a low cable. Works pretty well!

  35. I have a lot more respect for Sean after this video. I used to assume he was just another bozo selling high priced info products.

  36. This is shitty advice and that’s why his traps are small. Look up alpha destiny and look at his traps in comparison. All you need is wide grip power shrugs and rack pulls with holds

  37. How about doing slightly bent-over barbell rows rows, i guess traps will work the same, but in addition you will make the biceps work too.

  38. Thanks for the tip. P.s. you dont look like you do 120 pound or even 75 pound dumbbells. Do you do traps every week?

  39. i got such big traps from th age of 15 that it is over developed from carrying heavy bags i dont train traps anymore i focus on dealts which are lacking big time compared to my traps

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