How to Perform Bent Over Shrugs Correctly With Kettlebells

Man about to perform shrugs

If you are looking for an isolation strength exercise to work the upper part of your back, you have found it: bent over shrugs are known to be among the most effective exercises for the upper body and they are also exercises that require very little space and gear, therefore they are perfect for your home workout sessions.

Include bent over shrugs into to your gym program or just do a few reps at home after work – if you do the shrugs correctly, your results will be spectacular.

What Muscle Group Do They Target?

Bent over shrugs train deltoids and the trapezius. While most gym goers pay attention to adding bulk to their deltoids and include several exercises to work them, the large triangle-shaped muscle between the shoulders called the trapezius is very often neglected during upper-body training, a problem that might lead to developing a disproportionate body, but that can be easily corrected with this superb exercise.

How to Perform Bent Over Shrugs

Bent over shrugs are considered to be quite awkward exercises due to the bent position. However, it is this awkward position that makes the exercise super-efficient.

Bent over shrugs are done with smaller weights than upright shrugs, but going lighter does not mean diminished efficiency – on the contrary, lifting lighter weights while bent forward will increase the effectiveness of the exercise.

For correct bent over shrugs, stand upright, then lean forward 90 degrees from the hips so that your upper body is parallel with the floor.

Grab your weights with a straight arm, then pull your shoulders together in the back. When the movement of the arms reaches the peak, make sure you squeeze your muscles to make the most of the repetition.

Squeeze for about one second, then lower the weights slowly until you reach the starting position. Bent over shrugs are the most efficient when done in medium to high repetition sets, somewhere between 8-15 repetitions in a set.

If doing 8 reps seems too difficult, switch to smaller weights and work your way up gradually.

Performing One Arm Bent Over Shrug

Single arm bent over shrugs allow you to better hit the muscle groups from different angles. By using a bench you can adjust the height to hit the muscle at those different angles.

  • Stand with a nice wide base
  • Place one hand on a bench  
  • Lean forward and keep your back flat
  • Keeping the arm straight lift the weight off the ground and slowly squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly bring the weight back down making sure not to over extend the arm.

How Often Should You Shrug

As with working any other muscle group you have to have appropriate rest in order for the body to repair and strengthen. At a minimum you want to leave at least a day’s rest in between each workout, but if your muscle are still aching you are probably going to want to wait until the body is fully recovered.

Why It Is Important to Work the Upper Back Muscles

Bent over shrugs are just perfect for working upper back muscles – a part of the body that in many cases gets too little attention.

While training the shoulders, the trapezius and the deltoids are very important for a harmonious, trimmed appearance and having properly trained muscles on your back is important for health reasons as well.

If your upper body is not sufficiently strong, you become more prone to injuries and accidents.

Various illnesses and health problem, such as the conditions that can be directly linked to the existence of visceral fat or issues determined by poor posture, can also be successfully prevented by properly working your upper body.

The bent over shrug trains some of the principle muscle groups that determine the posture of the upper body, so integrating them into your workout is an absolute must if you want to have a torso that is not only an attractive, but healthy and strong as well.