Hello everyone! Welcome to article number thirty-two (thirty-freakin’-two!) in the Challenger Strength Blog Series. Yes, I am just as shocked as you are that my initial blogging effort has transformed into such a consistent and weekly publication. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because as the weeks go by it is increasingly hard to find unique and fresh topics to write about. However, my creativity has prevailed thus far so have no fear. What I will say though is if you have any topics you would like to see covered please drop a comment on our website, Instagram or Facebook. In addition to this, I will continue checking out various Instagram stories and find inspirations from the unfortunately stupid things I see on a day-by-day basis.
One thing I have seen a lot lately that is becoming an issue is improper shrug technique and ideology. Basically, many people have the wrong idea of what they should be doing when they shrug. They treat a barbell shrug like it is an Olympic lift. Hands all chalked up, belt on nice and tight, 200 plates on each side of the bar, and then they shrug and they look like they are receiving an exorcism in one of the conjuring movies. I am here to tell you to remove your ego from the equation and learn to shrug properly and effectively.
Goals of Shrugging
I have said this countless times before and I will say it again. IF YOUR GOAL FOR A BODY PART IS TO INCREASE MUSCLE SIZE THEN REPS AND FORM ARE KING. Now, after you imagine me screaming that at you, please stop attempting shrugs with hundreds of pounds on the bar. We are aiming for reps of 12-15 with a great emphasis on the contraction of the muscle and the time under tension (time a muscle is contracted for each repetition and set). Shrugging insane amounts of weight and jumping while you barely move your shoulders accomplishes nothing. No one cares that you can hold a bar with 495 pounds on it and that it sounds really loud when you throw it down after a set. Your traps will continue to stay the same size and the only thing that will receive growth is your ego! In my entire lifting life (unless using an assisted machine at the gym) I have never loaded more than 275 pounds on a barbell when I shrug. It is extremely pointless.
This section will be short as I only have one comment. Basically, once you have the weight adjusted properly your last focus should be form. I see countless people circularly shrug their shoulders. That is, they internally rotate, roll them back around and then repeat the motion. I mentioned time under tension previously and you can give it a try for yourself. You have no tension placed on your traps when you are rotated internally or when you roll back around. Instead, take your shoulders to your ears, pause and then return straight back down. This is a huge mistake that is so commonly made and adversely effects gains to the traps.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.