Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exercise: Band Shrugs

I had the tricky problem of trying to find a shrugging exercise for my clients without having a lot of gear to use in the process. Both of the guys I was training that day are strong enough to require real weight on shrugs, but I didn't have a lot of weight to load a bar.

What I had them do was stand on the middle of one of my Iron Woody bands (a blue, "Small" band - not to be confused with a mini) and grip the ends of the band and shrug upwards with a 2-second hold at the top. To prevent the inevitable time distortion, someone else counted the hold times. The "shrug" isn't terribly hard but the reps add up, and the hold makes each successive pull harder. A good way to cue this is to have the trainee set their shoulders back and down, and then pull the shoulders up while keeping the scapula "packed" together. You don't want a round-shouldered pull. The top portion of this shrug should look a lot like the top portion of a barbell shrug or a shrug-hold (such as a farmer's walk).

To increase the grip portion of the exercise, instead of grabbing inside the lop of the band, grab the band itself, or feed a short towel through each loop and grab the towel for the shrug.

This exercise is hard to progressively load, but you can use a stronger band or grip it further down. My clients seemed to think it was easy . . . at first, but it added up quickly. Give them a try if you want to add in a shrug, but want either a change of pace or don't have the weight necessary for a challenging shrug.

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