upright row demonstration

upright row

Upright Row

The Upright Row is an exercise designed to strenghten the shoulder and upper back muscles



The upright row can be a dangerous exercise if not performed properly. The biggest risk is with people that have rounded shoulders.  This “hunched” position does not allow the shoulders to move as the should which will eventually result in a impingement injury.  You know you are in this high risk group when you stand against a wall with your back straight and can’t place the back of your hand against the wall above you without bending your elbows

How to do it

Stand with legs at a comfortable distance apart—shoulder-width is about right.

  1. Grasp a barbell or dumbbells and allow it to hang in front of you . Your palms should be facing your hips and your shoulders should be pulled back
  2. Standing up straight, adjust your grip so that your hands are about in line with the thighs. 
  3. Breathe in and brace the abdominals, keep the back straight, chest up, and eyes focused forward.
  4. Lift the barbell straight up toward the chin, leading with the elbows and keeping the bar close to the body. Breathe out during the effort. Your arms should go no higher than parallel with the shoulders. Slightly less is OK.
  5. Pause at the top of the lift.
  6. Return the barbell back to the starting position

Exercise Tips:

  1. Your back must remain straight at all times and your torso should be kept still throughout the entire set.
  2. Don’t let your shoulders hunch over when your arms are extended.
  3. Use the back muscles to move the weight – push yur chest up and don’t use momentum to swing the weight up.
  4. Pausing and squeezing at the back of the movement for a 1-2 count will increase intensity and results.

Alternative Exercises

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