If you prefer, you can also do shrugs with kettlebells. This variation has the same benefits as dumbbell shrugs. However, you’ll quickly advance to the point where the kettlebells aren’t heavy enough.
Another option is to hold a weight plate in each hand while doing shrugs. Again, you won’t be able to do as much weight. But the benefit of this variation is that you also improve your grip strength at the same time.
Lastly is a variation called Kelso shrugs. For this exercise, you lean forward face down on an incline bench. Performing shrugs in this position changes the angle of your arm relative to your body and works more of the lower traps and mid-back.
In addition, Kelso shrugs eliminate momentum, so you can’t cheat. And you don’t need as much weight to overload your traps.