0

I have some doubts about how the trapezius is involved in barbell row. I'm a newbie in weight-lifting so I'm sorry if I won't be very accurate.

What I mean with shrug

I mean when your trapezius shortens to bring your shoulders near your ears.

My question

When I do barbell row, I shrug a little. I wanted to know if it is correct, or if it's a bad compensation I should try to avoid.

My analysis

Let's consider for instance a pull-up. From the following picture, It seems to me that you have to shrug in the starting position and you have to keep a depressed trapezius in the final one.

enter image description here

Does the trapezius follow the same movement pattern also in a barbell row shown in the following picture?

enter image description here

It seems to me that in this case the trapezius doesn't shortens/lengthens vertically (up-down), but laterally. So, I'd say it works laterally and it doesn't cause your shoulders to shrug.

Is my analysis correct? If it is, I'd say it's a mistake to shrug during barbell row.

2

You basically answered your own question in the question, but since no one else has chimed in, I'll throw in $.02.

I would not advise that someone actively shrugs their shoulders during a traditional barbell bent over row. If anything, I'd retract and set the traps and rear delts (similar to a bench press set up) in order to take the slack out and allow a maximum contraction in the lats (less important in a cable row, but considering the importance of stabilization in the barbell variation, I think it holds more merit).

The image you referenced likely has traps acting as stabilizers, and secondary movers (difficult to 100% isolate the lats, teres major/minor, etc, especially if you're going heavy). If you're gonna hold something big and heavy while bending over, you're traps are going to put in some work (side note: I did shrugs all the time, but never saw much growth until I started deadlifting heavy). Of course, by that logic, the lower back, core, forearms, and biceps might as well have some red on them too.

Back to your original question though: no, don't shrug at the top of the movement. If you want to hit the traps in a row variation, work in some facepulls, or a similar variation.

1
  • Do you think it can be useful to depress the shoulders and keep them depressed (with traps lengthened) during all the exercise to prevent shrugging at the top? – Kinka-Byo Apr 11 at 16:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.