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Upright Rows
Exercise Form and Techniques

Upright Rows - Bottom of Exercise Upright Rows - Top of Exercise
Bottom Top
Muscles Used: Secondary

Delts (S)

Muscles Used in Upright Rows

Delts (F)



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- Barbell Upright Rows -

Exercise Type: Compound Exercise, Pull Movement

Form Instruction: Standing, grasp bar at shoulder width or slightly narrower with an overhand grip. Pull upright with elbows leading towards ears and then lower until arms are extended again.

Tips and Techniques: Keep barbell close to body, allow wrists to drop at the top of the exercise. Concentrate on pulling with your traps (your mid and lower traps do the bulk of the work) or with your shoulders depending on which muscles you most want to target.

Woman Demonstrating exercise form for Upright RowsExperimenting a little with the width of your grip can also help target the exercise - for most, a narrower grip will help target the traps more and a wider grip the shoulders more but some individuals will report the opposite effect.

Some people will get pain with a narrower grip and some will get pain regardless of the grip - if there is pain, DON'T DO UPRIGHT ROWS.

We are all built a little different and this is an exercise that is a bit awkward for all and extremely awkward for some. It can be too tough on the shoulders and/or wrists of certain builds.

Experimenting with grips and/or the height you take the exercise (stopping the barbell at the mid or lower chest for example) can alleviate pain but if you just drop the upright row from your weight lifting exercise arsenal, that isn't going to kill your physique hopes and dreams. It can be an effective exercise but it isn't a "must do."

Recommended Reps For Muscle Building: 6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.

Common Variations:

Substitutions: As far as exercises that target both the traps and delts as well, you're kind of limited. Armpit Rows (start with dumbbells at sides and then pull them up as though you are trying to place them in your armpits) are a less commonly done exercise but they do have a dedicated fan-base with many lifters considering them superior to upright rows for both trap and delt development.

Bodybuilding Equipment: Barbell and Weights


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