ROY S. JOHNSON: For Strong Shoulders and Back, Give it a Shrug

By Roy S. Johnson
Founder of Fit! Live! Win!
Follow @FitLiveWin on Twitter 

Small movements can generate big results–especially in the gym where it is important to recognize that in order to see gains on any body part, you’ll have to do multiple exercises.

Each move impacts a different area of that body part, different sets of muscles–all ultimately work together for strength, coordination and endurance.

The shoulder shrug is a move I don’t see too many people doing, unfortunately. Why? Maybe because it’s a small movement that seemingly doesn’t require much effort nor produce significant results.

Wrong on both counts!

Done properly and regularly, the shoulder shrug anchors your effort to build a strong overall back. Not necessarily a big, muscular back but one that offers you a solid foundation for everything from walking and running to simply sitting at your desk without pain or doing damage to your body.

They’re typically done with dumbbells, which allow for the hands to hang at your side.

The move is simple: raise your shoulders towards your ears simultaneously, hold it for a beat, then lower.

Don’t try for maximum weight here. I prefer more reps on this move with a weight that is about 75% of my max.

Do five sets of 10 reps, perhaps adding weight on the third and fifth sets.

Beyond the straight move, add variation by bringing the shoulders from back to front for 10 reps, then front to back.

That helps work the full range of shoulder muscles, adding balance and even flexibility.

Challenge yourself!

Roy S. Johnson is the founder of Fit! Live! Win! and former Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Fitness. Fit! Live! Win! was created to be the only workout buddy you’ll ever need, to help you challenge yourself with new workout moves, training regiments and eating strategies from the best trainers and nutritionists in the business. For more information about Roy S. Johnson and Fit! Live! Win! visit