Upper and Middle Trapezius

Behind The Back Barbell Shrug

Behind The Back Barbell Shrug


The reverse barbell shrug is an excellent way to work the trapezius muscles. This exercise is sometimes referred to as “behind-the-back shrugs.” The reverse shrug minimizes the momentum that can be generated with traditional shrugs to the front of the body.

Start Position

Grasp two dumbbells using a closed, neutral grip
Lie in a supine position on a bench in the fivepoint body contact position
Press the dumbbells in unison to an extended-elbow position above the chest
Slightly flex the elbows and point them out to the sides
All repetitions begin from this position

Movement Phases

Lower the dumbbells in a wide arc until they are level with the shoulders or chest
Keep the dumbbell handles parallel to each other as the elbows move downward
Raise the dumbbells up toward each other in a wide arc back to the starting position


Keep the wrists stiff and the elbows held in a slightly flexed position
Maintain the five-point body contact position
The lower the dumbbells descend, the greater the pectoral stretch, but also the greater the chance of injury
It’s safer to terminate the descent when the dumbbells reach chest level

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