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Shrug Hints and Tips

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:09 am
by Rik-Blades
Hi All,

I have a problem with shoulder shrugs, that is i'm confused about what weight i should be using and what technique.

I workout at home and therefore dont really have anyone around me to compare technique and possibly get a reference for what weight seems right for growth.

When i started doing shrugs, it soon came apparent that i could load the bar up with any weight i liked! Say 100Kg + (220Lbs) Didn't seem to matter, i could still pull my traps right up. I use a Barbell and not Dumbells because i can get more weight on the Barbell.

I recently visited a website that suggested i do behind back shrugs as it helps to avoid 'cheating'. I have to say that behind back does seem to 'hit the spot' much better.

BUT! I can still load the bar as heavy as i like.

Does anyone have any tips they want to share on their technique and give an example of the weight they are using? Does anyone know if the behind back technique will result in an imbalance in my traps? I'm 6ft 2in and have quite a long neck and would like big upper traps to avoid looking like a Giraffe! :lol:

Thanks in advace,

Rik

Re: Shrug Hints and Tips

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:02 am
by Stephen Johnson
Rik-Blades wrote:BUT! I can still load the bar as heavy as i like.
Quite frankly, using most home weight sets, you're not going to be able to max out on the shrug. If you want more stimulation, you'll have to buy more weight plates.

Power cleans and high pulls are good exercises that also have some effect on the traps. Additionally, you can buy a neck strap or harness and train the neck directly.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:02 am
by Rik-Blades
Weight is not an issue here, I have excellent bars and enough plates to sink the Titanic! :lol:

I stopped loading the bar at 100Kg because something just didn't seem right. Surely my traps are not that strong. The extra weight MUST be forcing bad form. This is why i'm asking what weight other lifters are using, i'm trying to establish if traps ARE actually that strong a muscle.

It's not that i'm not seeing progress, i am, but i'd say that upper traps are maybe hard to monitor progress. They are hard to measure. It's easy to keep adding weight, but if that extra weight makes for cheating, then there's not much point.

I've read that burn shouldn't be associated with effectiveness. If i drop the weight right down, i feel the burn. Up the weight, no burn. Which way to go?

I am avoiding cleans and high pulls, cant afford a new floor at this time! :lol:

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:05 am
by robertscott
I wouldn't worry about it too much Rik, I'm the same as you, i can fire way heavier weight on shrugs than i can on pretty much everything except squats.

Also it's pretty hard to do them wrong, you just shrug.

Shrugs are one of my favourite exercises because i can put so much weight on the bar but also, like you Rik, i have a really long neck so I can see the development clearly, thus massaging ye olde ego.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:20 am
by amivan
Rik-Blades wrote:Weight is not an issue here, I have excellent bars and enough plates to sink the Titanic! :lol:

I stopped loading the bar at 100Kg because something just didn't seem right. Surely my traps are not that strong. The extra weight MUST be forcing bad form. This is why i'm asking what weight other lifters are using, i'm trying to establish if traps ARE actually that strong a muscle.

It's not that i'm not seeing progress, i am, but i'd say that upper traps are maybe hard to monitor progress. They are hard to measure. It's easy to keep adding weight, but if that extra weight makes for cheating, then there's not much point.

I've read that burn shouldn't be associated with effectiveness. If i drop the weight right down, i feel the burn. Up the weight, no burn. Which way to go?

I am avoiding cleans and high pulls, cant afford a new floor at this time! :lol:
I weigh 160 and I don't do shrugs in any of my routines but I can crank out 15 reps with 225 lbs pretty much any time. So to answer your question. Yes. And you probably could use more weight than that.

PS

shrugs focus on your upper trap so make sure you do something for the lower trap to avoid imbalance!! (overhead presses like the military press use the middle/lower traps for example)

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:56 pm
by pdellorto
The traps are strong, and the movement is very short-ranged. Not much range-of-motion in a shrug of any kind, so you can usually load them up. My grip fails on shrugs before my traps do.

You can always check out Paul Kelso's shrug book. There is a thread about it over on the book review forum.

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:45 am
by Rik-Blades
Cool, thanks for that pdellorto, at least I know im not alone and going mad!

Will check out the thread, cheers.

Will go heavy then, invest in some straps for the grip.

Does anyone know if the upper trap can be divided into two, i.e. front and back? Should I shrug in front as well as behind back?

Re: Shrug Hints and Tips

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:56 am
by Kenny Croxdale
Rik-Blades wrote:Hi All,

I have a problem with shoulder shrugs, that is i'm confused about what weight i should be using and what technique.

Does anyone have any tips they want to share on their technique and give an example of the weight they are using? Does anyone know if the behind back technique will result in an imbalance in my traps? I'm 6ft 2in and have quite a long neck and would like big upper traps to avoid looking like a Giraffe! :lol:
The majority of those weight training have problems with shrugs. They don't know what they hell they are doing. These gym geeks, who perform shurgs look more like an epileptic having a seizure.

They make the movement more of a total body workout, heaving the bar up. Along with that, I am NOT an advocate of the traditional shrug. There are move effective trap movements.

Those movements, as Stephen Johnson noted, are Olympic pulls (power clean, power snatch, hi pulls). These movement give you more "bang for you buck" in trap training.

Along with Olympic pulls, overheading pressing builds traps.

Take a look at an Olympic Lifter. They have trap up to their ears.

Deadlifting builds traps. Good deadlifters have huge traps.

So, dump the traditional shrug or behind the back shrug and perform some Olympic pulls, overhead pressing and heavy deadlifts.

Kenny Croxdale

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:59 am
by ironmaiden708
A version of shrugs that I did was I started in the executed position, I straightened myself out still with my traps in the executed position and slowly let the bar down to the starting position and repeated. Give that a try and see if you notice anything. But you will need to load the bar w/ more than 225 lbs.

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:39 am
by Rik-Blades
I like the sound of that, thanks, cant wait to try it.

It's exactly what i'm looking for, something a bit un-orthodox

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:56 pm
by Rik-Blades
Okay, tried that and I now have DOMS in places I never had DOMS before! :lol:

Noticeably, my lower traps hurt today, not my upper though.

Will keep it up, see what happens.
I'm also upping the rep range toward 20 after a bit of reading on another site.
'Apparently' traps are pretty resistant to training and wont respond well to the low rep range like most muscles. The reasoning being they have to support your arms etc constantly anyway, so they need to be hammered. Can anyone else confirm this?

This 'Loading of the muscle AFTER contraction' and then releasing technique is interesting. I've personally never heard of that before and wonder if there's any on-line literature to support it? Just asked my Physio about it and she say's she has heard about it.

If this works, surely this could be applied to other muscles too, with the potential to go very heavy indeed (if you can come up with the right equipment to support it). Of course the risk of injury is not to be overlooked.

Maybe then we can become 'Droppers' and not just 'Lifters' :idea:

Food for thought...

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:35 pm
by Labyrinth
Rik-Blades wrote:
I'm also upping the rep range toward 20 after a bit of reading on another site.
'Apparently' traps are pretty resistant to training and wont respond well to the low rep range like most muscles. The reasoning being they have to support your arms etc constantly anyway, so they need to be hammered. Can anyone else confirm this?
Well, in Starting Strength Coach Rip does say that the traps respond better to higher rep training but by higher he means 8 reps (or 8-12).
I'm pretty sure past 12 reps and it becomes more of an endurance workout regardless of the muscle being worked.

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:34 pm
by Rik-Blades
I totally agree, thats my understanding. high reps for muscle growth 8-12.

However, this article specifically stated above 10 upward even 20 reps.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/growtraps.htm

Just would like other lifters experience on this

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:45 pm
by ironmaiden708
Well when I did those in the past I felt like my neck was gonna rip apart because of the doms. Just make sure you do it correctly so you don't strain your neck because from personal experiance I found if I contracted my muscles at the wrong angle then my neck would start getting strained.

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:13 am
by Rik-Blades
Guy's,

Just reporting back on how the shrugs are going.

Been using the negatives now for 3 weeks and invested in some wrist straps. Pleased to report i've seen a huge improvement!

It takes a couple of workouts to get the technique right, the DOMS for the first week felt great.

Been using around 275 lbs on the negatives and yesterday tried the same weight on the positive and whoop! can pull them traps right up to my ears no problem, fantastic! have seen a big difference in my upper trap size too.

Thanks again for all the feedback,

Regards,

Rik