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The Hise Shrug



Sep 8, 2010
The Hise shrug, invented by Joseph Curtis Hise, who was often referred to as the "Father of American weight training" was a staple movement for strength athletes in the past. Today, it is seldom, if ever performed. In my 23 years of training, I have never seen anyone other than myself perform this movement which is unfortunate because it's an incredible exercise for upper back and even overall strength and development. To perform the Hise shrug, get into the exact position that you would for performing a back squat, with the bar high up on your traps. Stand erect and simply shrug your shoulders as high as possible to your ears. Pause as the top for a least a full second, lower and repeat. Coordinate your breathing so that you inhale as you shrug upwards and exhale as you let the shoulders back down. Start with moderate weights to get the form down, but eventually the goal is to use very heavy weights for very repetitions in the 20-25 range. This exercise will hurt-I can promise you that-but you will be rewarded with increased growth in your upper back and traps. I have also found that it also helps to establish a solid base for positioning the bar when doing squats.

Another version of this movement is to get into a standing calf machine with a solid foot placement and do shrugs with the yoke of the machine across the top of the shoulders. Use the same formula as the traditional Hise Shrugs-one heavy set of 20- 25 reps. I would perform the Hise Shrug at the end of the back workout as it can be quite taxing.

As is true with life and in the gym-if you are willing to pay the price that others will not-you will reap the benefits that others will not"


Dec 25, 2010
So this is essentially similar to the gripless shrug that you see people doing on the smith and the calf raise machine.