Stop Doing Shrugs with a Shoulder Roll!
Back when Michael J. Fox was joyriding in a DeLorean in Back to The Future, it seemed that everyone who did shrugs did them with a roll, either rolling their shoulders forward or backward after each vertical shrug. Sadly, I still see some people doing this, so let’s set the record straight.
We do shrugs to build our upper traps, right? Well, the primary function of your upper traps is to shrug or elevate your shoulders. So it makes sense: shrugging upward against resistance builds your upper traps. We’re good so far, but now let’s look at the rolling component of “rolling shrugs.”
Once you’re in the top position of a shrug, rolling your shoulders forward from that point actually moves the line of force anterior to and away from the upper traps, just the opposite of what you want to do.
So not only does rolling your shoulders forward during shrugs fail to work better, it’s actually worse. The only thing forward-rolling shrugs do for you is let everyone around you know that you have no idea what you’re doing in the gym.
If you insist on doing your part to keep rolling shrugs in style, at least roll your shoulders backward when you do them. That way you can say you do it to give your scapular retractors (rhomboids, middle, and lower traps) a little extra work. No, it doesn’t work them well at all since the resistance is going down and your retractors pull back, but hey, at least it’s something.