How To Do The Smith Machine Shrug Properly

The smith machine shrug is a great workout for growing and strengthening your trapezius muscle (traps). Therefore, it is often considered an isolation exercise.

You will need a smith machine to execute this technique.

How to do it:

  • Start by loading the bar with weights that are in line with your fitness needs. Avoid loading too heavy. Adjust the bar on the rack so that it is slightly below your hip region.
  • Stand tall and face the bar while maintaining a shoulder-width stance.
  • Grab the bar using an overhand grip and ensure that your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  • While bending your knees, remove the bar from the rack and suspend it on your thigh region. Ensure that the bar is close to your body. Slightly sag your shoulders. This marks your starting position.
  • In a slow and controlled motion, shrug your shoulders up so that they almost touch your ears. Do not use your biceps to lift the bar, instead use your traps.
  • Pause briefly then gently lower the bar to your starting position.
  • Repeat 10 to 12 times for 3 sets.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SMITH MACHINE SHRUG WORK?

TRAPEZIUS MUSCLE

The smith machine shrug primarily targets your trapezius muscle. The trapezius muscles extend longitudinally from the neck to the thoracic vertebrae and longitudinally to the scapula. The exercise stretches and increases the size of your traps. This plays a vital role in stabilizing your back and neck.

DELTOID MUSCLE

The routine also engages your deltoid muscles. This plays a vital role in stabilizing your shoulder joints, hence preventing shoulder injuries.

SMITH MACHINE SHRUG BENEFITS

BUILDS YOUR TRAPS

If your goal is to build your traps, you should include the smith machine shrug in your workout routine. It is an insolation exercise, therefore it will reward you with massive trap gains if you perform it correctly and consistently.

IMPROVES YOUR POSTURE

The smith machine shrug plays a vital role in improving your posture. Your traps are connected to your neck, shoulder, and spine. Therefore, as your traps grow and become stronger, so do your neck, shoulder, and spine.

This causes your upper body to become more stable, hence assisting you to stand tall. Good posture promotes back relief. Moreover, it improves your breathing and enhances your self-confidence.  

REDUCES NECK PAIN

The smith machine shrug plays a critical role in reducing neck pain. This is because the routine grows your traps, which provide greater support for your neck and head. Therefore, your overall health improves.  

PROMOTES STABILITY

The workout activates various muscles of your shoulders. As a result, your upper body becomes more stable. Additionally, your upper body parts coordinate smoothly.

PROMOTES MUSCLE GROWTH

Performing the smith machine shrug is an effective method of enhancing hypertrophy in your back muscles. This is beneficial to individuals that are interested in bodybuilding.

IMPROVES PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE

The routine plays a vital role in strengthening your upper body. This is beneficial to daily activities. For instance, you are able to perform activities that involve bending, sitting, reaching, or lifting with minimal strain. As your traps get stronger, your physical performance at the gym improves. For instance, you are able to comfortably lift heavier barbells.

IMPROVES YOUR BACK APPEARANCE

Performing the technique consistently has a conspicuous effect on your back. Your back becomes well-toned and sculpted hence making you more attractive. This increases gives you a youthful look and increases your confidence. Men develop a back physique that resembles a triangle and experience massive muscles gains. On the other hand, a well-toned back gives women the illusion of an hourglass figure.

ALTERNATIVES TO SMITH MACHINE SHRUG

BARBELL DEADLIFT

The barbell deadlift also engages and strengthens your traps. All you need for this exercise is a barbell. Avoid overloading the bar with heavyweights.

How to do the barbell deadlift:

  • Start by standing behind the barbell. Maintain a shoulder-width stance and keep your toes below the bar. Your feet should be firmly pressed on the ground for stability. Maintain a neutral spine and stabilize your abdominal muscles.
  • Squat and hold the bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  • While exhaling, lift the bar upwards and its maximum height should be at your hip region. Once at maximum height, slightly push your hips forward.
  • Pause then lower the bar to the ground. Do this while inhaling.
  • Perform your desired number of reps and sets. However, do not overdo it.

DUMBBELL SHRUG

The dumbbell shrug is a great alternative since it grows and strengthens your traps. You need a pair of identical dumbbells to perform this technique.

How to do the dumbbell shrug:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in both hands. Stand tall, press your feet firmly on the ground at a shoulder-width stance and maintain a straight back.
  • Suspend the dumbbells on the sides of your body. Ensure that your palms are facing each other. This is your starting position.
  • Shrug your shoulders as high as you can reach.
  • Pause briefly then return to your starting position.
  • Perform 10 to 12 reps for 3 sets.

SMITH MACHINE SHRUG MISTAKES TO AVOID

ROTATING YOUR SHOULDERS

A common mistake while performing the smith machine shrug is rotating your shoulders backward. This causes a retraction on your scapula, which prevents the movement from engaging your traps. To avoid this just maintain a simple upward and downward movement of the shoulders.

BENDING YOUR ELBOWS

Bending your elbows is counter-productive. This is because it activates your biceps instead of your traps. Therefore, you are not able to experience gains on your traps.

SWINGING TOO MUCH

Too much swinging alters the range of motion. Additionally, it can cause injuries since you can accidentally hit yourself with the dumbbells. Ensure that you stabilize your body and maintain a constant and controlled movement.

CONCLUSION

The smith machine shrug is a great routine to strengthen your neck and back. This enhances your physique and improves your posture. If you have cases of neck injury, ensure that you consult your physician before commencing the routine.