Cable Shrug

Exercise / Traps

Cable Shrug overview

The Cable Shrug is an effective exercise designed to target the trapezius muscles, emphasizing the upper traps. Using a cable machine with a straight bar attachment provides constant tension throughout the movement, contributing to muscle engagement and development. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Cable Shrug in your trap and upper body training routine.

The Cable Shrug primarily targets the trapezius muscles, with a focus on the upper traps.

Cable Shrug how to perform

  • Step 1: Set the cable machine with a straight bar attachment at the lowest setting.
  • Step 2: Stand facing the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart, and grip the bar with an overhand grip, hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Step 3: Inhale and lift your shoulders toward your ears, emphasizing the contraction of the upper traps.
  • Step 4: Elevate your shoulders as high as possible, keeping the arms straight.
  • Step 5: Hold the contracted position for a brief moment, feeling the engagement in the upper traps.
  • Step 6: Exhale and lower the shoulders back down to the starting position, fully extending your arms.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, focusing on the contraction of the trapezius muscles.

Starting position

Final position

CAUTION: Rember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Exercise Tips

  • Maintain a straight back and engaged core throughout the movement.
  • Keep the bar close to your body to target the upper traps effectively.
  • Lift the shoulders directly upward, avoiding excessive forward or backward movement.
  • Use a weight that challenges you while allowing for proper form.


  1. Dumbbell Shrug: Perform the exercise using dumbbells for a different range of motion and individual arm engagement.
  2. Barbell Shrug: Utilize a barbell for a different grip and muscle activation.
  3. Smith Machine Shrug: Utilize a Smith Machine for added stability and control.
  4. Behind-the-Back Barbell Shrug: Lift the barbell behind your back for a unique variation.