Smith Machine Shrugs

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Traps
Secondary Muscle(s) -
Equipment Machine
Emphasis Isolation
Type Pull

Smith Machine Shrugs Instruction

  • Approach the barbell and position your feet in an athletic stance slightly outside shoulder-width.
    • Your knees are slightly bent and toes pointed straight ahead.
  • The core is braced and engaged. Shoulders are pinned back and eyes fixed straight ahead.
    • Back is flat with a neutral spine.
  • Grip the barbell just outside shoulder-width.
  • Unhook the barbell and lift (shrug) your shoulders straight up, think about bringing your traps to your ears. Quickly pause to hold the contraction.
    • Your arms are passive.
  • Release the hold and lower the bar to the starting position. 
    • Don't lose your strong posture as you lower the bar.


  • Focus on the isolation of the traps.
  • Since you are using a Smith Machine, the barpath will be preset. 
  • Refrain from using your arms to pull the bar up. The arms are merely a lever for your traps. 
  • Don't use momentum or excess movement to elevate the bar. 
  • You can put on heavier weight since you are using a Smith Machine.
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