How To Do & Muscles Worked

dumbbell shoulder shrug

The shrug motion is an accessory exercise that targets the upper traps which are important stabilizers for the neck and shoulders. This motion is often not worked, but important for avoiding neck pain and injury.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Challenging

Which Muscles Are Worked?

Diagram of primary and secondary muscles worked from Dumbbell shoulder shrug

Primary Muscles


Secondary Muscles

Exercise Type

Dumbbell icon

How to do dumbbell shoulder shrug Properly

Step by Step Guide

Begin standing with the feet hip distance apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep both arms straight and down at your sides.

Shrug the shoulders up toward the ears while looking up slightly. Pause for a second.

Lower the shoulders back down to the start position while looking straight forward again.

Repeat for the desired reps.

Common Mistakes

A common mistake is doing this exercise too quickly while rounding the shoulders. Instead, focus on a slow and quality contraction with good posture to better isolate those upper trap muscles. This is why adding a small pause may be helpful to ensure proper contraction.


Animation of how to do Dumbbell shoulder shrug