October 11, 2015

By Jared Jones

Going Hybrid With Shrugs

Here’s how to do hybrid cable-dumbbell shrugs:


First, you’ll need a way to attach the low pulley to either your arms or your dumbbells. Fortunately, that’s very easy to do. My preferred method is to use two ankle harnesses attached to the low pulleys. Keep them buckled loosely so you can slide your hands in and out easily. If you don’t have ankle harnesses, you can also loop the cable itself around the handle and clip it back onto itself. Keep that shifted toward the back of the dumbbell. It does make it a bit awkward, which is the reason that I like the ankle harnesses. At least it’s another option.


In addition, if you don’t have low pulleys, you can do this with bands hitched out to the sides and get a similar effect. So get your dumbbells set in the center of the pulleys. I’m using a couple of 105-pounders and 100 pounds on each of the weight stacks. (Note: When you’re using heavier dumbbells, you need to match them with heavier weight on the cables. Otherwise the downward force of the dumbbell weight will overmatch the lateral force of the cables, and you won’t get the same effect.)


Now get your hands through the harnesses. Stand in the center and grab your dumbbells, getting into position for a regular shrug. Next, with an explosive movement, shrug your shoulders as high as you can, and hold at the top for a maximum contraction. You will feel this up into your neck as you never have before with shrugs. The direct lateral resistance on the traps targets fibers that simply don’t get worked during regular shrugs due to the vertical line of pull. When you add lateral resistance with the cables, you’re also going to get continuous tension on those fibers, which is a further stimulator of growth.


So you’re:


1) Hitting more fibers.


2) Working them in a lateral line of pull, which is more in line with their direction of pull.


3) Maintaining continuous tension.


This is a killer combination that will give you monster trap growth.


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