The Scapula sets the stage for the entire upper body. Your shoulder blades need to be able to move freely in all directions for shoulder health & performance. A shrug is a straight-arm exercise that isolates scapular movement. Shrugs work your trapezius & serratus anterior muscles. Your upper trap elevates (or pulls up) your scapula. Your mid trap retracts (or pulls back) your scapula. Your low trap depresses (or pulls down) your scapula. And your serratus anterior protracts (or pushes away) your scapula.
Here’s a bodyweight shrugs stack:
Here’s a dumbbell shrugs stack to strengthen each side independently:
DB 1-Arm Scap Presses L/R
DB 1-Arm Scap Rows L/R
DB 1-Arm Overhead Shrugs L/R
I love stacking all these moves back-to-back for 10 reps each. It’s a perfect warmup or off-day recovery routine. Your upper body will only go as far as your scapula will take it so don’t neglect these corrective exercises. If you struggle with these moves, start with 50-100 reps of band scap presses to get you started.