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.
Behind The Back Barbell Shrugs
With traditional barbell shrugs, you hold the bar in front of you. The disadvantage here is that it’s hard to roll your shoulders back as you pull them up.
But with behind the back barbell shrugs, the bar is on the rear part of your legs. This automatically pulls your shoulder blades back. Although it’s trickier to balance and you won’t be able to go as heavy.
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 completely eliminate momentum so you can’t cheat. And you don’t need as much weight to overload your traps.