Exercise Spotlight: Standing Plate-Loaded Shrugs

We are continuing our series of exercise spotlights with today’s version of a shrug! A lot of people shy away from shrugs because they think that their traps will flame up Hulk-style. In reality, building your traps gives you a strong-looking frame to compliment the rest of your shoulders, arms, and back. Remember, it’s important to continue to add different exercises to your knowledge base so that your body doesn’t get used to anything. Let’s learn about the standing plate-loaded shrug. 


What is it?

A standing plate-loaded shrug is literally standing with your hands on an apparatus loaded with plates and then shrugging your shoulders to your ears. The concentric action is shrugging your shoulders up. The eccentric action is lowering your shoulders back to neutral position. Both should be done with control and care. 

Why should I do it?

This exercise will increase the endurance, strength, and stabilization of your trapezius muscle (also known as your traps, basically the muscle that connects from your shoulders to your neck).  Although it is most noticeable on the “top” of your shoulders, your trapezius goes down to the middle of your back and has the shape of a diamond, in a sense. If you want to build your back and shoulders, this exercise is very important! It will also build a beautiful form from your back reaching to your shoulders.

How should I do it?

Stand in a neutral position at the machine. Grip the handles and shrug directly upwards, not forward or back. Try not to stand on your tippie-toes. You want to focus all your energy on just shrugging which will concentrate the development of your traps. Once your grip is steady and you’ve loaded the machine with appropriate weight (try starting with 10lbs on each side and see if you can load with more), shrug your shoulders upwards to your ears. Squeeze tight when you get to the top and slowly lower your shoulders back down. You can also do this with dumbbells and barbells. 


How many repetitions and sets should I do?

Remember, a repetition is how many times you are lifting the weight in a short period of time. And sets are groups of repetitions. So…

  • For muscle endurance, do 12+ reps for 2-3 sets
  • For muscle hypertrophy (growth), do 6-12 reps for 3-5 sets
  • For muscle strength, do 1-5 reps for 4-5 sets

Let us know how this one goes when you hit the gym! What was easy? What was difficult? How did it feel? Comment below to let us know. Also, comment on what exercise you would like to learn more about. And as always, stay hungry and fit!



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