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Standing dumbbell shrug

A lot of people feel tension in the trapezius muscle, caused by poor posture, stress, or carrying heavy objects. The trapezius helps to keep our shoulder up. When we hold something in our hand the trapezius is working. When we place a bag over our shoulder the trapezius is working. Also, the trapezius supports our head.
The trapezius only gets a break when we lie down. So, it works for almost the entire day. This is why so many people feel tension in this muscle. Strengthening the trapezius is one way to decrease the tension and support these muscles. The purpose of strengthening your traps is not to hold more stress; it is to stabilize your shoulder blades.

Hold your dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing your body. The dumbbells should be alongside your thighs with your elbows straight. Stand in split stance position and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
Exhale and slowly shrug your shoulders upward. Do not allow any shoulder rotation. Keep the elbows straight. Do not allow the back to arch or the wrists to bend.
Inhale and back to your starting position.

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32 Comments on "Standing dumbbell shrug"

Penny for your thoughts

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This could be great for me after I have been on the computer for hours on end, I don’t tend to take the breaks that I should, so this might just be perfect for me, I’ll let you know how I go on, thank you for this very usefull information


Worlds Biggest Fridge Magnet

Excellent exercise. Always loved a shoulder shrug!


This reminded me of my physical therapt exercises. You know I had surgery on my spine (cervical). So, right now they have me doing weighltess shrugs.


I’ve been feeling a knot on my right shoulder blade due to sitting in front of a computer. I can definitely try this out.


Most people over utilize their trap muscles throughout the day weakening them creating cervical and upper back instability. Most aren’t even aware. “Stress” has a tendency to make us shrug our shoulders unconsciously. Strengthening these muscles is an important task. The exercises you recommend will do just that. Wonderful recommendations!

Harry...the Man!

Very useful exercise. I will be doing this in future.


Definitely going to do this. I suffer terribly with neck and shoulder tension, sometimes it feels like my head is to heavy for my neck lol. Thanks so much for this. Tracee 🙂


IN five minutes I am entering the Gym. I am clutching various notes on the posts of yours that I have read and taken to heart. I will report back and let you know how it goes ….


Perfect needed that advice sorely!

Alison B. Marsh

This is a great post! Good reminder for me.
In Pilates, we are constantly striving for less use of the upper traps and more use from the lats. So it is easy to overlook the importance of strengthening the traps.
All about balance. Thank you for the reminder!


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