Barbell Exercises and Tips For More Effective Barbell Shrug

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When people get started with weight training, they often do not realize the value of barbell exercises. Experts recommend that beginners should exercise for 4 days and rest for three in a schedule similar to the following:

  • Day 1: Back, Abs, Biceps
  • Day 2: Hamstrings, Abs and Shoulders
  • Day 3: Forearms, Calves and Quad
  • Day 4: Triceps, Chest and Abs

Your rest days should be in between these days. As you can see using barbells for your exercises targets the Abs, helping you to develop that six-pack you’ve always wanted.

For beginners, there are certain exercises they should start with. For the chest, use the bench press. For the shoulders, the front shrug, military press and upright row are the ones you should start with. A lying triceps extension with or without the EX curl bar works well. The standing curl and the EZ standing curl are the ones you should start with for the biceps and squats, reverse lunges and calf raises help tone the lower body.

A bent over row using a barbell is a great exercise to include in your regimen once you get used to using these free weights. Before starting any of the exercises, you should make sure you include a warm up time to loosen the muscles. This will let you work longer without getting muscle fatigue. You should also cool down to allow the muscles time to recuperate from the taxing routine.

You also need to get to know your muscles and signs of fatigue so that you don’t have any downtime because of injuries.

Tips For More Effective Barbell Shrugging:

Barbell shrugs are an exercise which many bodybuilders leave out of their routine. The reasons may vary. Perhaps they worry about a bunched-up neck detracting from their natural width and V-taper. Maybe it’s simply equipment availability. In some gyms, it’s just too busy to find a slot in the power rack for yourself. And some people focus more upon the major body parts and forget the traps are a muscle groups which does require direct stimulation. Let’s look at some ways to get in your shrugging, and complete it better!

Leave traps their own slot

This point is the most important. If you don’t remember to train your traps using shrugs, the rest of the ideas presented here won’t matter anyway! Place them at the end of shoulder or back day, and devote 5 to 10 working sets to barbell, dumbbell, and smith machine shrugs.

Use the Bench

You can use a standard flat bench for your barbell shrugs just as easily as you can use the power rack. If no rack is offered at your gym, or if it’s always crowded, complete your shrugs on the bench instead! Be careful, though, as others will soon be stealing your idea!

Try the Smith

The smith machine keeps the barbell in a safe parallel path. This can help to prevent the classic ’rounding’ of the shoulders we see with incorrectly performed shrugs. After all, they should be completed with a straight up-and-down motion. Setting the pin in the low position gives you the added bonus of a nice place upon which to lower the weight down.

Take your time

Move through this exercise slowly. You’re not in a race. The slower you train, the more muscle fibers are recruited as blood is drawn into your muscle group. Don’t lift so slowly as to convert your raining to a series of stops and starts. Rather, spend about 3 seconds on the positive portion and 5 seconds on the negative (lowering the weight back down)

Go heavy

Unless you’ve been injured, there is no reason not to go extremely heavy when training the traps. They hold your head and neck up all day, so they’re very much used to a light workload. If you want to add mass to your traps, you must pile on the 45 pound plates and get to work!

Pause at the top

This is an essential portion of a well-completed shrug that many bodybuilders neglect. At the very top of your very heavy shrug movement, you should make an effort to pause for just a moment. This will remove all momentum from the movement, and force your trap muscles to complete the brunt of the work as the weight is lowered down.

Don’t cheat!

You’ll be using some seriously heavy weight, so the temptation to cheat a bit may be present. Don’t succumb to this pressure! Swinging the weight up and down will result in your back, neck, and hips completing the brunt of the work, instead of your traps. Keep it slow and under control, and you’ll see the most growth!