Dumbbell shrugs actually work the trapezius muscle, so if you’re looking for good traps, this move if for you.
We’ve filed it here under shoulder exercises, because while it’s not strictly a shoulder exercise, it does rely on the shoulders for execution.
How to perform dumbbell shrugs
You can’t go wrong with this exercise; simply get yourself a set of dumbbells, holding one in each hand by your sides – shrug your shoulders.
Keep the weight dead still in your hand and your arms should be moving only up and down through the shrug.
Go for reps, and go heavier when it gets easier.
Dumbbell shrugs: Common mistakes to avoid
It should be noted that sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your dumbbell shrugs with incorrect form, it is likely that you will poorly engage the intended muscle groups. Poor muscle engagement will hinder your gains at best and result in injury at worst.
When performing the exercise; always keep the muscle you intend to work in mind. This is the ideal way to ensure best results. Use the illustration above as a guide.
Finally; you should avoid using momentum and taking your body with the weight. This exercise requires you to move only at your shoulders.
Reps and sets
Dumbbell shrugs should be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond dumbbell shrugs...
More shoulder exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of shoulder exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.