This exercise develops muscle strength and endurance of the shoulders and biceps

upright row 2

Equipment: dumbbell, barbell, elastic tubing, or low cable pulley

Muscles used: deltiods, supraspinatus, trapezius II and IV, serratus anterior, and biceps


shoulder upright

Safety Precaution: I do not love this exercise because of the high risk of injury. The  reason I have included this on the blog is that, I believe, some people are unaware of the risk involved when engaging in this exercise. Should you choose to perform this exercise, read instructions below to learn proper form.
This exercise internally rotates the shoulder. Working the upper trapezius (lifting above 90°), may lead to shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement occurs when the muscles or tendons in your rotator cuff become entrapped in the shoulder joint. Some argue that lifting to 90° may also cause this condition.

Starting Position: Feet can be shoulder width or staggered. Pelvis, spine, neck and wrists are in neutral. Abdominals are contracted. Knees are slightly bent. Hands are pronated (palms face down) and in front of thighs. Grip on the dumbbell or barbell is narrow. Scapulae is depressed (shoulder blades press down) unless you want to strengthen the upper trapezius. If this is the case, elevation (shrugs) at the beginning or end of the range of motion is acceptable.

Movement: Leading with the elbows, and keeping equipment close to the body, lift to shoulder level (at 90°) or less. Exhale when lifting up.

Progression: Perform upright row from low pulley

Common Errors:
– leading with the wrists, bringing wrists higher than elbow
– bringing arms higher than 90°, placing stress on shoulder joint
– torso instability
– leaning backwards on the up phase

Need advice on the upright row or safer shoulder exercises? Please leave a comment….