Thick traps are the telltale sign of someone who lifts. Shrugs are a true isolation exercise and can be performed with barbells, dumbbells, and machines. With arms down and fully extended, raise the shoulders using only your traps in a shrugging motion.

Don’t roll the shoulders forward or  back. The only line of resistance is straight up and down. Keep the head and neck in proper alignment with the spine. Too much forward movement of the head and neck can put undue strain on the cervical vertebra.


  • Cable Shrug


The origin of the trapezius spans from the occipital bone on the back of the skull down to the T-12 vertebrae. It inserts into the acromion and spine of the scapula. The primary function of the traps is to elevate the shoulder girdle, and rotate and stabilize the scapula.


Bentover Lateral Raise | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12–15

Seated Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10–12

Machine Shrug | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12–15