Barbell Upright Rows

This is a compound movement involving the deltoids and the traps. Primary muscles involved are the deltoids and the traps. Secondary muscles are the forearms and lats.


Grip width determines the primary direction of the overload. A wide grip directs the overload to the deltoids. A narrow grip directs the overload more toward the traps.

With your grip (palms facing in) determined start with the bar at your waist. Raise the bar upward to right below your chin. Lower the weight twice as slowly as you raise.

Max-OT Tip:
A curl bar works well with this exercise and is more manageable because the shorter length allows for better balance.

Barbell Shrugs

Barbell Shrugs

The ultimate trap exercise. Heavy barbell shrugs provide direct stimulation and overload to the trap muscles. Primary muscles used are the traps. Secondary muscles used are the deltoids, upper back, and forearms


This is a very straightforward movement that is done only one way. Grip a loaded barbell about shoulder width with your palms facing in. With the barbell held at your waist lift the weight upward by shrugging you shoulders. Imagine trying to touch your ears with your shoulders. Lower the weight slowly back to the starting position.

Do not rotate your shoulders when doing shrugs. This movement is straight up and down. Rotating or rolling your shoulders can set you up for serious injury.

Max-OT Tip:
To increase the intensity with shrugs you should pause for 1 second at the top of the movement and stretch your traps fully at the bottom of each rep.

I highly recommend using straps for both Barbell Upright Rows and Barbell Shrugs. Using straps allows you to use more weight without the concern for your grip slipping.

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