Smith machine shrug

The Smith machine shrug is an upper-body exercise targeting the traps (trapezius muscles). It is usually performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more, as part of shoulder or trap-focused training.


  1. Adds size and height to the traps
  2. Easier to overload, rack, and unrack than a barbell
  3. The bar moves on a track making it easier to get into position and control

Smith machine shrug Images


Smith machine shrug Instructions

Smith machine shrug muscle diagram
  1. To begin, set the bar height on the smith machine around the middle of your thighs. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, grab the bar using a pronated grip (palms facing you) shoulder width apart from each other.
  2. Lift the barbell up and fully extend your arms with your back straight. This is the starting position.
  3. While exhaling, elevate the bar by raising your shoulders until they come close to touching your ears.
  4. Hold the contraction for a second before lowering the bar back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  • This exercise can be performed using a squat rack with a barbell. However, be careful not to select a weight that is so heavy that it causes you to break good form as you do not have the support of the smith machine for this variation. Too much weight can harm your back.
  • You can also use dumbbells to perform this exercise.