Upright row is to a strength-training exercise that is popular with athletes, hard core exercisers and bodybuilders. Upright row exercise is normally performed to enhance the size of shoulder and upper-back muscles. However, the issue is that the shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint and is constituted of numerous ligaments, muscles and tendons. All these parts can easily become strained when an awkward movement takes place during upright row. Hence, it is essential to abide by instructions regarding your safety while practicing upright rows.

How to Do Upright Row

Follow the steps below to practice upright row exercise in the right way.

Step 1

Select any pair of good quality dumbbells. Stand with your feet apart at shoulder distance. Grab the dumbbells, keeping your palms facing downwards. Make sure your hands are inside the shoulder width and your elbows should bend slightly too.

Step 2

Lift both the dumbbells straight upwards while maintaining a straight back. Your eyes must face forward and the dumbbells should be kept as close to the body as you can. Pull them up to your chest height so that they nearly touch your chin.

Step 3

Pause for a while and now slowly lower the dumbbells to their starting point.

Step 4

Repeat the above steps for the number of reps you want to do.

The following video can help you understand the correct method of upright row.

Which Muscles Does Upright Row Work?

The chief upright row muscles are your biceps, deltoids and upper trapezius. The deltoids and upper trapezius work together for elevating the shoulder girdle so you can raise both your arms while the biceps work to contract your elbows. In addition to these major muscles, the smaller muscles known as fixators and synergists control the other regions of the body for facilitating the exercise’s performance. The core muscles of your body must make enough tension for supporting your spine when you raise or lower the dumbbells.

Safety Concerns and Tips for Upright Row

The upright row is executed for developing your traps and shoulders. But it is also harmful due to the tough position you need to keep your arms in while performing the exercise. When doing upright rows, your arms must be bent at your elbows and should be rotated internally. Internal rotation can be troublesome if you elevate your arms and add resistance to that pose. Each time a dumbbell is raised, a tiny tendon in the shoulder pinches by bones in your shoulder. This is known as impingement and can damage your tendon in the long run.

Here are a few tips that can help you maintain the correct position while doing upright row:

1. When practicing this exercise, keep the dumbbells close to the trunk.

2. Don’t raise them to your nose or chin as this increases the chances of injury.

3. Concentrate on keeping the elbows a little higher than the forearms. Your elbows will push this motion.

4. Keep your body fixed in a position and avoid leaning forward when you lower the weights and don’t lean backwards when you lift them up.

5. Maintain a shoulder wide grip while practicing upright rows. Although certain people place their hands quite close for emphasizing their trapezius muscles, the narrow space can result in severe bursitis with time. The shoulder wide grip offers better freedom of the movement.

6. Never jerk the weights as this makes you lose the grip. It may cause injury and take off the resistance from the muscles, diminishing the effectiveness of the exercise.

7. If you have any shoulder problems, it is best to avoid doing the upright row and swap it with any lateral raise.


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