Are Upright Rows Bad?
One knock against upright rows is that they can put a lot of stress on your shoulder joints. While it’s true that the shoulders take most of the load, that doesn’t make this exercise inherently bad or dangerous.
The key to safely performing upright rows is using an appropriate weight and proper form. This way, you can improve the strength and stability of your shoulder joint as you progress.
In addition, upright rows are great for targeting the neglected muscles of the rear delts. With this exercise, you can add an extra dimension to your shoulders when viewed from the side or back.
Upright Row Benefits & Limitations
- Great for targeting rear delts and traps
- Can strengthen shoulder joint when done properly
- Improves pulling strength on other lifts (rows, cleans, snatches)
- Many variations to fit your equipment and training needs
- Possible to cause shoulder pain if done incorrectly
How To Do Barbell Upright Rows
For this tutorial, I’ll show you how to do upright rows with a barbell using a narrow grip. Start by grabbing the bar with an overhand grip and hands 6-12 inches apart.
Next, stand straight up with the barbell resting against your thighs. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back.
From this starting position, pull the bar straight up the front of your body until you reach about chest level. Now lower the weight back down to your thighs.
Continue this movement for the desired number of reps, then set the bar down.
To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands 6-12” apart
- Pull the bar straight up the front of your body
- Lower the bar back down to your thighs
- Keep the bar close to your body throughout the movement
- Repeat for the desired number of reps