Shoulder Shrugs: Muscles Worked, Benefits, and How To

If you have a desk job, you likely spend a big contribution of your day with your neck pitched forward, your shoulders slumped, and your eyes focused on a screen in front of you. Over time, this model can take quite a toll on your neck and shoulder muscles. fortunately, there are exercises you can do to relieve muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper back. shoulder shrugs are a popular option of exercise for strengthening your shoulder muscles and upper berth arms excessively.

Shoulder shrugs can be done anywhere and only take a few minutes. even better, shoulder shrugs are perfect for most fitness levels and can be modified for different levels of strength. This article will cover the benefits and proper technique for this easy, but potent, exercise.

What muscles does a shoulder shrug work?

The main muscles that shoulder shrugs target are the trapezius muscles. These muscles are located on either side of your neck. They control the drift of your shoulder blades deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as your amphetamine rear and neck. When these muscles are strengthened through exercise, you will have an easier meter maintaining proper position. A strong trapezius pulls your shoulders back and helps stabilize your neck and upper back. everyday movements such as rustle, reaching, crouch, and even sitting are more effective and safer when your trapezius muscles are toned and strong. Working these muscles may besides help you with other fitness exercises, such as lifting barbells.

Shoulder shrugs for chronic neck pain

Researchers who conducted a 2017 review of the literature on exercises for neck pain, found that strengthening exercises targeted at the neck and shoulders have the ability to significantly reduce neck pain. A 2011 analyze involving 537 people in Denmark found that participants with work-related neck pain got significant relief by doing specific neck-strengthening exercises, including shoulder shrugs with dumbbells. If you have chronic neck annoyance, consider talking to a physical therapist about shoulder shrugs. Ask if they are safe for you to do, or if there are early exercises they recommend for your pain.

How to do shoulder shrugs

share on Pinterest Follow these steps to do this drill safely and with good form .

  1. Start with your feet flat on the floor, in a standing position. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. With your arms at your sides, turn your palms to face each other. If you’re doing the exercise with weights, bend down and grab them now.
  3. Bend your knees slightly so that they line up with (not past) your toes. Keep your chin up, facing straight ahead, and your neck straight.
  4. While you inhale, bring your shoulders as high up toward your ears as you can. Do the movement slowly so that you feel the resistance of your muscles.
  5. Lower your shoulders back down and breathe out before repeating the movement.

Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions to start. You can increase the number of reps as you build up your shoulder persuasiveness. Over time, try working up to doing 3 sets of 20 repetitions, 4 times a week. If you ’ re doing this use to ease shoulder or neck pain, try doing the exercise without weights at first. Start lento by doing fewer reps and sets to ensure you ’ rhenium not aggravating an injury or pinched heart .

Shoulder shrugs and weights

Shoulder shrugs can be done with or without weights. Shoulder shrug with weights ( besides called dumbbell shrugs ) boost the strengthening likely of this drill. If you ’ re fresh to shoulder shrugs ( or weight aim in general ), start with a lower weight at first gear. Hand weights of 5 or 8 pounds are still heavy enough to strengthen your trapezius and upper berth back muscles. As you get into the habit of doing this exercise several times a workweek, you can increase the weight to 15, 20, 25 pounds or more. If you want to change things up, you can besides try this exercise using barbells or resistance bands .

Safety tips

Shoulder shrugs look elementary — and that ’ south because they are. There aren ’ t a distribute of steps or instructions to follow. But there is some condom protocol to be aware of when you try this exert. never roll your shoulders when you ’ re doing a shoulder shrug. This besides applies to dumbbell shrugs performed with weights or resistance bands. Make certain you cautiously lift your shoulders up before dropping them back down in the lapp vertical direction.


If you ’ re looking to boost the lastingness of your shoulder, neck, or amphetamine back muscles, or you want to improve your position, consider adding shoulder shrugs to your exercise routine. Strengthening your trapezius muscles can help stabilize you neck and upper back and reduce the try on your neck and shoulder muscles. Shoulder shrugs may besides be a estimable option if you have chronic neck pain. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about this use .

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