Upright Row

How to do the Upright Row: Top 5 Tips

The Upright Row can be used as a great exercise to build some strength and size for the shoulders. But, it does have its issues when not performed correctly. If you have a history of shoulder issues perform with caution. When done well with either dumbbells or a barbell it can build some strong shoulders!

Purpose of the movement:

The Upright Row is used to help strengthen the upper body pulling muscles. The purpose of the movement is to pull the weight from the waist up to above the nipple line.

Muscles involved:

The primary muscles involved for this movement:

  • Deltoid
  • Trapezius

    Equipment needed:

    To perform the Upright Row exercise the equipment you will need:

    • Barbell
    • Plates

    Can also be performed using dumbbells

    Step by Step guide:

    Follow our step by step guide to master the Upright Row:

    1. Set up the bar and plates correctly
    2. Lift the weight from the floor, using same technique as a deadlift - keep the big chest neutral spine.
    3. With the bar resting at a mid thigh position- hand grip should be overhand, just inside shoulder width, arms long
    4. From here pull the weight up towards the chin. The elbows leading the movement and must stay above the height of the hands at all times.
    5. Pull the bar up to above the nipple line, pause for one second and then lower the bar back to the mid thigh start position.
    6. Breath out on the way up, and in on the way down.

    Top 5 Tips:

    1. Keep elbows above hands at all times
    2. Grip overhead just inside shoulder width
    3. Pull up to above the nipple line
    4. Don't round the back or sway through the hips
    5. Ensure you breathe out when pulling the weight up.


    Try adding the Upright Row into your next shoulder training session. Play around with both dumbbell and barbell variations of the movement.

    This movement should not be performed by those that have a previous history of shoulder injuries as it does put the joint in a vulnerable position, or at least perform with caution. Make sure you nail the technique.

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