How To Do Behind The Back Shrug

Behind The Back Shrug Exercise

Behind the Back Shrug is a great exercise for building the traps, the upper back, the shoulders, biceps, forearm muscles and also engages the core to stabilise the body and support the lower back.

Behind the Back Shrug can be done as a warm up for the rotator cuff, shoulders and upper back before doing pressing exercises for the chest and shoulders.

It can also be done as a finisher in a back or shoulder workout.

Behind The Back Shrug How To

  • Set a barbell at a Smith Machine or a Power Rack at a height above knee level.
  • Face away from the Smith Machine; take a shoulder width overhand grip on the bar. Tighten your core, arch your lower back, push your chest out and bend at the knees.
  • Extend the knees and lift the bar up to an area just under your glutes. Lean forward slightly so that the bar will not hit your glutes as you shrug.
  • Stabilise your position, take a deep breath then exhale. Shrug the barbell straight up as high as you can. Think about pushing your traps into your ears. Hold the top position for a count of “one”.
  • Resist the weight as you bring the barbell back to starting position. Get a good stretch at the bottom.
  • Repeat the exercise until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

Unlike regular Barbell Shrug, you should not use heavy weight with Behind the Back Shrug because of the position of the shoulders which are angled back.

Keep the weight light to moderately heavy and focus on proper form.

Do not bend at the hips and use momentum to shrug the weight up.

Variations: Barbell Shrugs, Smith Machine Shrugs

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Behind the Back Shrug