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Are shrugs a safe exercise?

Shrugs can be a very good exercise for developing strength in your shoulders and trapezius muscles (muscles of your upper back), and can be a safe exercise when performed correctly. However, if you have preexisting tightness in your neck or experience neck/shoulder pain during this exercise, alternative shoulder exercises such as a dumbbell scaption may be a better option.

Generally speaking most people does not need shrugs. Unless you are an athlete playing contact sports (most of us fall in the category of not being that type of athlete). For the most part, the general population has an imbalance of strength in the upper, mid, and low traps with the upper being stronger and tighter. When the upper traps are stronger than the mid and low trap, this imbalance will cause headaches and shoulder pain as well as neck pain and tightness. Strengthening the mid and low trap area will help balance out the muscle a help prevent injury.

When weight training, it is important to be conscious of pushing the shoulders down and back in order to disengage the upper traps. Push the head back to alleviate tension and help relax the upper traps.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.