1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Shoulder Exercise Description: How To Exercise Shoulders Using Upright Rows


Upright Rows Exercise

Upright Rows Exercise

Photo Credit: Lina Rivera
The upright row is a multi-joint exercise that not only works the front and middle heads of the deltoids, but also works your biceps and your trapezoids as secondary or auxiliary muscles. This is a great exercise for giving width to your shoulders and for raising your trapezius muscles as well.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30-40 seconds depending on the amount of repetitions performed and setup time.

Here's How:

  1. Grasp an e-z curl bar (my preference) or a barbell with a pronated (palms facing your body) grip that is slightly less than shoulder width. The bar should be resting on top of your thighs. Your arms should be extended with a slight bend at the elbows and your back should be straight. This will be your starting position.
  2. As you breathe out, use your side shoulders to lift the bar as you exhale. The bar should be close to the body as you move it up. Continue to lift the bar until it reaches the chest line. Keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower the bar back down slowly to the starting position. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. Be very careful with how much weight you use for this exercise. Too much weight leads to bad form, which in turn will cause shoulder injury. I’ve seen this too many times so please do not allow jerking and swinging of the weights.
  2. If you suffer from shoulder problems, then stay away from upright rows and substitute this exercise by some form of lateral raises (to stimulate the side deltoids) coupled with shrugs (for their effect on the trapezius muscles).
  3. This exercise can also be performed using a straight bar attached to a low pulley.
  4. Upright rows can also be performed using dumbbells, though this later exercise should be reserved by the most advanced people that are well familiarized with its correct execution.
  5. The closer you have your hands when you hold your bar, the more emphasis you will place on the trapezius muscles.

What You Need

  • Barbell with some resistance
  • When performed with cables, use the necessary straight or e-z bar attachment
  • Dumbbells

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.