The overhead shrug is an isolation exercise that targets the upper traps. As a result, it will help you build a broader back.
The exercise is suitable for bodybuilders and can be performed using cables, barbells, or dumbbells. It has various benefits and is a worthy exercise for strengthening the upper body.
It is also known as the overhead dumbbell shrug, the overhead cable shrug, or the overhead barbell shrug.
Targeted muscles: Neck, shoulder blades, upper back.
Requirements: Barbell, dumbbells
Difficulty level: Medium
- Hold a barbell or two dumbbells with a firm grip. Ensure the grip is wide enough and outside your shoulder width.
- Press the weights above your head.
- Straighten your arms and lock them in position. Remember to contract your arms and glutes in the process.
- Elevate your scapula and press the weights above your head while maintaining an upright torso, a neutral head, and locked arms. Shrug your shoulders as if you want them to touch your ears.
- Pause for a moment when your shoulders are in the top position.
- Lower the weights back to the starting position without interfering with your shoulders at the bottom of the rep. This will help you focus on the upward rotation.
MUSCLES WORKED BY THE OVERHEAD SHRUG
The overhead shrug targets the trapezius that controls the shoulders, upper back, and neck movement. The exercise will strengthen your back muscles, giving you the strength to lift heavy objects. If you are a circus performer, it will strengthen your shoulders, giving you the strength to perform circus stunts.
BENEFITS OF THE OVERHEAD SHRUG
IT REBALANCES THE SHOULDER
The overhead shrug can correct a chronically depressed shoulder by rebalancing the rotator cuffs. As a result, it can relieve you of shoulder pains. Also, the exercise will strengthen your shoulder muscles as it rebalances them, which, in turn, will give you the strength to perform other exercises.
IT WILL STRENGTHEN YOUR NECK MUSCLES
The overhead shrug works the trapezoids, which are muscles located on either side of your neck. As you perform the exercise, you will strengthen those muscles, giving you the ability to control the movements of your shoulders, upper back, and neck.
IT WILL HELP YOU MAINTAIN A GOOD POSTURE
Since the exercise strengthens the upper back, neck, and shoulders, it will make it easy for you to maintain an appropriate posture. Strong neck muscles will pull back your shoulders and help you maintain a stable back and neck.
The overhead shrug can help you control body movements such as lifting, sitting, reaching, and bending. Strong and toned trapezius muscles can also help with other fitness exercises that require controlled and precise movements, such as dumbbell lifting.
ALTERNATIVE TO THE OVERHEAD SHRUG
THE SHOULDER SHRUGS
The shoulder shrug exercise is more like the overhead shrug but does not require weights. It is a comfortable exercise that involves you lifting your shoulders towards your ears. While performing the exercise, it is important to keep your hands close to your body.
- Stand on your feet, making sure that your legs are spread shoulder-width apart.
- Place your arms at your sides, ensuring that your palms face each other.
- Bend your knees slightly. Make sure it lines up with your toes. Keep your chin up and your neck straight.
- Breathe in as you push your shoulders towards your ears. Go as high as you can, and be sure to control your movement so that you feel your muscles resist the movement.
- Lower your shoulders back to their original position and breathe out in the process.
- Repeat the process 8-10 times.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE OVERHEAD SHRUG
INCOMPLETE SHOULDER MOVEMENT
Performing the exercise correctly requires you to lift your shoulders as high as possible. That does not mean you should perform half a rotation of what you can perform. This is because performing half or incomplete shoulder rotation can cause wear and tear of the shoulder muscles, leading to shoulder injuries.
ROTATING YOUR SHOULDERS BACKWARDS
Another often mistake with the overhead shrug is the backward shoulder rotation. It can retract the scapula, preventing you from feeling the resistance in your upper and middle traps. As a result, you will not benefit from the workout.
SWINGING TOO MUCH
You may be tempted to load heavy weights while performing the overhead shrug. The effect of lifting too much weight is that it will force you to swing more than you would if you loaded the appropriate weight. Overswinging can lead to pain in your back muscles due to too much pressure exerted on them. Avoid loading too much weight and keep your movements stable while performing this workout.
When performing the overhead shrug, you may assume an inappropriate posture, such as reclining, which might offset the neck and spine alignment. This can strain your neck and spine. Observe your posture as you perform the overhead shrug to avoid putting pressure on your neck and spine.
Muscle tear can occur if you overload the weight while performing the overhead shrug. Since the exercise engages the trapezius, performing the vertical movement with an overloaded weight can tear those muscles. This will put tremendous pressure on your shoulders and upper back. Ensure you work with the correct weight and extend your arms during the workout.
The overhead shrug is a suitable exercise for people who have a long history of lifting heavyweights. It contributes to muscle growth while relaxing the shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles.
It is an advanced exercise that requires time to master. If you are new to it, make sure a professional is close by to supervise you. Be patient with exercise. Increase the weights once you are accustomed to the lighter weights.
Also, the exercise can help fix your back and relieve your shoulder pains. If you are a bodybuilder and have shoulder pains, consider the overhead shrugs. Its benefits supersede its negatives, making it an easy exercise to recommend