The Voyer Shrug

Mondays with Thibs

First and foremost, the Voyer shrug, named after Canadian
osteopath and biomechanics expert, Guy Voyer, is a postural and
preventive movement that focuses on correcting a shoulder
anteriority/forward roll posture. Not to mention, it’s also one of
the most effective rhomboid exercises you can perform.

While these two benefits have obvious positive impacts on
shoulder health and posture, they also carry a powerful effect for
the bodybuilder and strength athlete. The Voyer shrug will
drastically improve your bench pressing strength and help prevent
shoulder injuries. And if you aren’t stuck at home with an ice pack
riding your shoulder, you’re still in the gym getting bigger.

The Voyer Shrug Described

This exercise can be performed unilaterally (one arm at a time)
or bilaterally (two arms at a time). It’s rather simple, yet proper
performance will require some practice.

Basically, it’s a two-step movement using the low-pulley
stations:

1. While standing in the middle of the station and holding one
handle in each hand, perform a regular shrug, bringing your
shoulders straight up and as high as possible.

shrug

2. Once you reach the top of the shrug, rotate your shoulders
back while keeping them shrugged up.

Note that this isn’t like that stupid “shoulder circle” motion
that some idiots do while performing shrugs; you rotate the whole shoulder and arm. In other words, you aren’t bringing
the shoulders back; you’re rotating the shoulders and arms around
their axis. You should feel it right between your shoulder
blades.

shrug

For you visual learners out there, here’s the complete movement
from different angles:

shrug

“So Thib, When Do I Use It?”

The Voyer shrug is for anybody that:

  • Has a shoulder anteriority/slouched posture
  • Is preparing for an intense strength phase which will include a
    hefty dose of bench pressing
  • Has been having shoulder problems

I like to use this movement in the preparatory (I despise the term “warm-up”) portion of a workout along with rotator cuff
work. As part of your prepping, it should be performed for 2 to 3
sets of 12 to 15 reps.

But if you think you’re bulletproof and just want some new-found
growth, it can also be used as a regular training exercise on your
shoulder or back day. In which case, 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps is
the way to go.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.