How heavy should shoulder shrugs be?

shoulder shrugs shoulder shrugs weight

Shoulder shrug is a popular exercise that strengthens the shoulder and upper arm muscles. The main muscles that shrugs work on are the trapezius muscles. These muscles are located on either side of your neck. They control the movement of the shoulder blades as well as the upper back and neck.

When it comes to the ideal weight for shoulder shrugs, there are a few general guidelines to consider:

  1. Start Light
    As with any new exercise or increased weight, it's best to start on the lighter side, even if that means just using your bodyweight at first. This allows you to focus on proper form and muscle activation before progressively overloading.

  2. Progressive Overload
    Once you have the movement pattern down, gradually increase the weight over time. Aim for increases of 5-10% each week or every other week, depending on your strength and recovery abilities.

  3. Maintain Control
    The weight should be heavy enough to challenge the traps, but not so heavy that you lose control of the movement. Avoid using momentum or jerking the weight up, as this can put unnecessary strain on the shoulders and back.

  4. Rep Ranges
    For maximal trap development, aim for rep ranges between 8-15 reps per set. Higher rep ranges in the 12-15 rep zone are ideal for hypertrophy.

  5. Individual Differences
    The "ideal" weight will vary greatly based on individual factors like strength levels, training experience, and body size. A 150 lb beginner will likely start much lighter than a 250 lb powerlifter.

As a general guideline:

  • Beginner lifters: 20-50 lbs per hand
  • Intermediate lifters: 50-100 lbs per hand
  • Advanced lifters: 100-200 lbs per hand

The most important thing is to select a weight that allows you to maintain strict, controlled form throughout the full range of motion. Prioritize quality over quantity, and gradually increase the load over time as your strength improves.

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