I'm trying to learn to Overhead press and while reading the stronglifts.com guide I came across a safety warning where it says your bones will hit by lifting at that angle and to ensure that this doesn't happen, that you "Shrug your traps".

What does this mean? How do I do this and how do I know if I'm doing it wrong? Does it mean to lift the shoulders? Or the back? Do I do like a normal shrug, like up my neck?


Terminology used on the Stronglifts.com wiki entry on the Overhead Press, consistently refers to it as "Shrug your shoulders to the ceiling." That suggests that it is indeed the shoulders, and the image looks like it takes the shoulder up towards the neck:

Images from the Stronglifts wiki
Shrug your traps at the top. This creates space between your upper-arm and AC joint for your rotator cuff tissues. No shrugging is no space is shoulder impingement.

Further advice:

Shrug at The Top. Shrug your shoulders towards the ceiling at the top. This engages your trapezius muscles and prevents shoulder injuries. The rep doesn’t count if you didn’t finish it by shrugging your shoulders. Press the bar until your elbows are locked. Then keep pressing by raising your shoulders up. You’ll achieve a stronger lockout position, build bigger traps and avoid shoulder impingement from the Overhead Press.

Based on their video, it looks like the entire shoulder is raised, all at once and it goes all the way up.

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  • sorry I still don't fully understand, like if I shrug my shoulders, I can shrug like just the ends, or can go all the way up that it partially covers my neck, how far am I meant to go? – Aequitas Jan 6 '16 at 23:56
  • 3
    @Aequitas - Try to touch your ears with your shoulders. – mitro Jan 7 '16 at 5:23
  • @Aequitas: Is there anything more I can add for you? – Sean Duggan Jan 14 '16 at 19:50
  • @SeanDuggan I don't think so, thanks for the answer – Aequitas Jan 14 '16 at 20:59

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