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