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The use of barbell shrugs has become commonplace in the world of the modern bodybuilder. This type of exercise has become an important cog in the regime of most bodybuilders. Barbell shrugs target the upper trapezius muscles, and can help to create a balanced muscle growth throughout the upper body. The exercise is simple but very effective.

Techniques for the barbell shrug

One can choose to perform the exercise in one of two different ways. The bar can be held in front of you, or you can choose to hold a barbell behind your back. As for the weights you will use, they should be comfortable and within your lifting capabilities. You risk injury if you lift weights that are too heavy.

Regular barbell shrugs require the bar to be held in front of the body. Stand up straight, making sure that your feet are a shoulder width apart. Using the overhand grip, allow the barbell to hang in front of the body. Keep the arms as straight as possible. Elbows should not be locked. Shrug your shoulders until they are close to the ears. Hold the position for about five seconds in the peak of the movement. Holding the position allows the blood circulation in these muscles to increase. Remember to inhale fully. Return to the initial position and repeat.

The behind the back method takes much the same form. This time, hold the barbell behind your back. Stand up right with the feet shoulder width apart. The barbell should be held with both hands. This time, the grip should be pronated, with the palms facing backwards. Hands should be about a shoulder width apart. Wrist straps might help to alleviate any discomfort felt as a result of this position. Lift your shoulders as high as you can, until they are just about to touch the ears. Remain in this position for a few seconds. Remember that this exercise should be performed using the shoulders and neck, not the biceps.

Some other variations of this exercise exist. One version involves the rotation of the shoulders from rear to front. Often, this variation can lead to injury if not properly performed. Another variation involves placing the barbell on the thighs. Some people might choose to employ the use of dumbbells instead of barbells. In either of these variations, the same muscle groups will be exercised. It might in fact be advisable to combine both dumbbell and barbell shrugs.

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