Shrugs With Bands: A Foolproof Way To Build Your Traps On The Go

Shrugs With Bands are a great way to work those shoulder muscles and get the upper body strength you need to stay fit and healthy. But why should you use bands when doing shrugs? Bands add an extra challenge to your workout, which helps you work those muscles even harder. Plus, they can be used in a variety of different ways to target specific muscle groups. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how to do shrugs with bands, the benefits, what muscles you’re using, some tips and tricks, and common mistakes to avoid. So grab your bands and let’s get started.

Shrugs With Bands Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Trapezius – Upper
  • Secondary Muscles: Levator Scapulae, Trapezius – Middle
  • Equipment: Resistance Band
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Pull
  • Utility: Basic or Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Shrugs With Bands Instructions

  • Start off by standing on the band and holding one handle in each hand, ensuring the bands are tight with your hands as low as they can go.
  • Now pull you shoulders up toward your ears, while keeping your arms straight.
  • Hold at the top for a second and then allow the bands to slowly pull your shoulders down.
  • Repeat your shrugs for a set of 8-12 repetitions.

Video Tutorial

Shoulder Shrugs Using an Elastic Band : Workout Techniques

Shrugs With Bands Muscles

Target (Agonist)

  • Trapezius – Upper


  • Levator Scapulae
  • Trapezius – Middle

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


  • Erector Spinae

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the shrugs with bands exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Shrugs With Bands

Shrugs with Bands is an incredibly effective exercise for strengthening the upper trapezius muscle. This exercise helps to improve posture and strengthen the upper back, shoulders, and neck muscles. The bands provide a greater range of motion and can be used to target specific areas of the trapezius muscle. Additionally, the bands also provide more resistance and can help to increase strength and muscle tone. This exercise is great for athletes or anyone looking to improve their upper body strength, as it can help to create a strong and stable foundation for other exercises in their routine.

Tips for Performing Shrugs With Bands

If you’re looking to add a new exercise to your workout routine, consider trying shrugs with bands. This exercise is a great way to strengthen and tone your shoulders, arms, and back, while also improving your posture. And best of all, it doesn’t require a ton of equipment, so you can do it anywhere and at any time. To help you get the most out of this exercise, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Get the bands tight. One way to ensure you have enough resistance is to deadlift the band up and then do your shrugs.
  • Use a effective amount of resistance. One way to ensure there is enough resistance is to wrap the bands around your feet, reducing the amount of band that can be stretched.
  • Protect your lower back. You will likely being putting a lot of pressure on your lower back, keep your stomach flexed to increase your internal pressure and protect your back.

Benefits and Tips Video

Resistance Band Shrugs Workout

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When doing shrugs with bands, it’s important to remember that form is key. Many people make the mistake of performing the exercise with incorrect form, either by not engaging their core or not keeping their back straight. These mistakes can lead to injury and will not give you the desired results. Read on to learn about some of the most common mistakes to avoid when doing shrugs with bands.

  • You Don’t Want To Forget About Recovery Times. Over-training can easily, in fact, help make you less strong rather than stronger.
  • It Is Best If You Don’t Make It Too Easy. The only way to build muscle will be to challenge yourself.
  • Try Not To Speed Through Your Exercise Session. Every time you rush your training session, you are more likely to use improper form and injuries.

Variations and Complementary Exercises

There are a number of exercises that can be done as variations, complements, or alternatives to the exercise Shrugs With Bands. These exercises target the same muscles and can be done as substitutes or as part of a larger routine. Here are some variations, complements, or alternatives to the exercise Shrugs With Bands:

Graphic image of Dumbbell Shrug.

Dumbbell Shrug: The Dumbbell Shrug is a great complementary or alternative exercise to Shrugs With Bands. It is a simple exercise that can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. To perform the Dumbbell Shrug, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight and core engaged, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, then slowly lower them back down. This exercise works the trapezius muscles and helps to build strength and stability in the shoulders and neck. It can also be used as a warm-up or cool-down for other exercises.

Graphic image of Cable Shrug.

Cable Shrug: Cable Shrugs are a great complementary exercise for the exercise Shrugs With Bands. This exercise is performed with the use of a cable machine, which allows for greater range of motion and more weight to be used than with bands. Cable shrugs also provide constant tension throughout the entire movement, which is not possible with bands. Cable shrugs also target the same muscles as Shrugs With Bands, so it can be used to further increase the intensity of the workout.

Graphic image of Barbell Shrug.

Barbell Shrug: Barbell Shrugs are a great alternative or complementary exercise to Shrugs with Bands. This exercise focuses on the same muscles as the banded version, but with more intensity. This is because it requires more stability from the core and upper body, and allows for heavier weights to be used. The range of motion of the barbell shrug can also be greater than that of the banded version, allowing for an even more intense workout. With the added weight, barbell shrugs can really help build muscular strength and power in the shoulders and upper back.

Check Out These Top Resistance Band Exercises

Graphic image of Smith Machine Shrug.

Smith Machine Shrug: The Smith Machine Shrug is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise for Shrugs With Bands. This exercise works the same muscles as Shrugs With Bands but with the added benefit of being able to adjust the resistance level by changing the weight stack. Additionally, it allows for more controlled and precise movement due to the linear guidance of the Smith Machine bar. This exercise is best used as an isolated movement at the end of a back workout in order to target the upper traps, shoulders, and neck muscles.

Graphic image of Barbell Standing Upright Row.

Barbell Standing Upright Row: Barbell Standing Upright Row is a great alternative or complementary exercise to Shrugs With Bands. It is a compound exercise which targets the trapezius muscles in the upper back, as well as the deltoids and biceps. To perform this exercise, one stands with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a barbell with an overhand grip. The barbell is then pulled up to just below the chin, squeezing the shoulder blades together before slowly lowering it back down. This exercise is beneficial for strengthening the upper back and shoulders, and can be used to increase overall upper body strength when combined with other exercises.

Graphic image of Barbell Wide Grip Upright Row.

Barbell Wide Grip Upright Row: The Barbell Wide Grip Upright Row is a great alternative or complementary exercise to Shrugs With Bands. This exercise works the same muscles that Shrugs With Bands works, but with a different range of motion. The upright row begins with the barbell held wide, outside of the shoulders, and is then pulled up to the chin. This allows for a greater range of motion at the shoulder joint, and a greater challenge for the muscles in the upper back and neck. It also strengthens the grip strength as you hold onto the barbell for the duration of the exercise.

Opposing Complementary Exercises

For additional exercises to complete your workout, try these exercises that work the opposing muscle groups of Shrugs With Bands. These exercises will help to promote balanced strength and flexibility in your upper body. Here are a few exercises you can add to your routine:

Graphic image of Cable Straight Arm Low Pulldown.

Cable Straight Arm Low Pulldown: The Cable Straight Arm Low Pulldown is a great exercise to complement the Shrugs With Bands. This exercise targets the lats and back muscles, which are the opposing muscle groups of the traps that are targeted with Shrugs With Bands. The Cable Straight Arm Low Pulldown strengthens the back muscles and helps create a balanced physique. It also helps improve posture and prevent back injuries. The exercise also increases range of motion and allows for more efficient movement in everyday activities.

Graphic image of Chin Up.

Chin Up: Chin Up is a great complementary exercise to Shrugs With Bands as it uses the opposing muscle group. It works the upper back, biceps, and shoulder muscles while Shrugs With Bands primarily works the trapezius and neck muscles. Chin Up works to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and biceps, allowing for increased stability and power when performing other exercises. Chin Up also encourages proper posture and helps to alleviate tension in the neck and shoulders. Additionally, Chin Up also encourages full range of motion in the arms, helping to increase flexibility and range of motion for other exercises.

Graphic image of Close Grip Lat Pulldown.

Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Close grip lat pulldown is an effective exercise for strengthening the muscles in the back of your upper body. This exercise is complementary to shrugs with bands because it targets the opposing muscle group of the shoulders and neck. By working both of these muscle groups together, you can create a balanced workout that will help you build strength and stability throughout your upper body. Close grip lat pulldown strengthens the lats, rhomboids, and biceps, while shrugs with bands help to strengthen the trapezius muscles. Together, these exercises can help you create a stronger, more balanced physique.


It’s time to add the shrug with bands to your fitness routine! It’s an easy exercise that helps target the trapezius muscles and build upper body strength. To get the most out of it, remember to keep your core tight and maintain good posture. Don’t forget to breathe as you lift, and keep the bands taut throughout. Now that you know how to do it, why not give it a try? After all, you’ve got nothing to shrug at! For more great fitness advice, be sure to check out our other articles.

References: Wikipedia | |

Pin image for shrugs with bands post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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