Hail to the Dinosaurs!
A reader asked me how to perform the
It was the 7,983rd time someone has
asked me that question (and yes, I keep
track of all questions from readers!).
So, with that many readers wondering
about it, I thought I'd cover it in a
The Hise Shrug was invented by -- you
guessed it -- Joseph Curtis Hise, the
man who made the big gains on the
breathing squat program "back in the
day" -- which were reported by Mark
Berry in Strength magazine --- and
which pretty much turned the lifting
world into a bunch of squat
Imagine that -- a world of squat
fanatics. Not curl fanatics. Squat
fanatics. Times have changed, haven't
Anyhow, the Hise shrug is a heavy
shrug performed with the barbell on
the upper back and shoulders, just
the same as if you were going to
perform a set of squats.
You get set, focus -- and take a huge
deep breath. Fill your lungs to the
max -- and as you do, you perform a
In other words, it's a combination
of huge, deep breath and shoulder
shrug. The idea is to lift the bar
with a combination of lung power
and trap power.
Pause in the top position, lower slowly
and under control, pause and repeat.
Breathe out as you lower the bar.
It's a short movement on each rep --
just an inch or two. The real idea is
to work your breathing muscles against
heavy weight resistance.
You can do sets of 3 to 5 reps for super
strength -- or sets of 20 to 30 reps for
One word of caution -- do these in a power
rack, with the pins set to catch the bar
at the end of the set. Hise shrugs are like
quarter squats. There's too much weight on
the bar to do them safely unless you use a
After each set of shrugs, do a set of 15
to 30 reps in the breathing pullover with
very light weights -- no more than 20 or 25
Hise shrugs are a GREAT exercise -- and a
great way to work the breathing muscles,
which are more or less neglected in most
Give them a try and see what they do for you!
Yours in strength,
P.S. For more great secrets of old-school
strength training and muscle building, grab
Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
Strength, Muscle and Power
Gray Hair and Black Iron
P.S. My other books and courses are right
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Breathing exercises
work best with a barbell on your shoulders."
-- Brooks Kubik