The Overhead Shrug is one of the rarest, most underutilized exercises out there, but can offer a whole host of benefits to all lifters.

This exercise strengthens your shoulder girdle, deltoids, traps, triceps, and core while assisting with injury prevention and correcting your posture.

Although awkward looking, discerning Olympic Lifters and strength athletes have a lot to gain from this exercise as an accessory or simply to practice their technique.

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Overhead Shrugs: An Uncommon Exercise

overhead shrugs

Overhead Shrugs are not for the fainthearted and can tame even the wildest of ego lifters.

Ego lifting and this movement are mutually exclusive.

If the weight is too heavy you cannot cheat it up.

Ideally, non-strength athletes such as body builders who suffer from mild shoulder issues or muscular imbalances caused by pressing too much can benefit from this exercise.

Otherwise, Olympic Lifters looking to improve their snatch or strength athletes who struggle with the lockout portion of an Overhead Press can benefit greatly by adding this exercise in their repertoire.

Aside from increasing mobility, improving your Overhead Press form, your traps will feel scorched after training this exercise close to failure.

As a corrective exercise, T Nation writes: “Proper scapula elevation is required to do an efficient overhead press, but the overhead press doesn’t actually train that patterning. And most guys suffer from being too internally rotated while also having excessive scap depression.”

Therefore, lifters attempting to make their pressing movements more efficient by retracting their scapula can implement the Overhead Shrug to become accustomed to the unfamiliar motor pattern.

For example, bodybuilders and novice lifters in the process of dialing in their bench press form can program the Overhead Shrug into their training for a more seemless transition.

If you liked this exercise, we have a workout program dedicated to the most curiously unusual exercises here.

How to do the overhead shrug

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