Upright Row Muscles Worked Guide

One of the best exercises for developing the back and shoulders’ muscles is the upright row. The ideal form is necessary for the greatest results and helps to prevent injury, but it is also possibly harmful for the shoulders. Include upright rows in a full day of upper body or shoulder exercise.

  • Muscles Worked: The side delts and traps, as well as the shoulders and upper back
  • Tools Required: Barbell (or a kettlebell or a pair of dumbbells)

Performing an Upright Row

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart as you stand. Take hold of the barbell and let it hang in front of you at arm’s length. Your hands should be lined up with your thighs, with your palms towards your body.
  • Inhale deeply and contract your abdominals. Keep your eyes forward, chest high, and back straight.
  • As you exhale, raise the barbell up (toward the chin). Keep the bar close to your torso and lead with your elbows.
  • At the top of the lift, pause.
  • As you inhale, lower the barbell to its starting position.

Benefits from Upright Rows

The front and middle heads of the deltoids are worked by the upright row (shoulder muscles). Additionally, this exercise strengthens the biceps, trapezius, and rhomboids (muscles in the middle and upper back) (front of the upper arm).

All of these muscles contribute to the simplicity of lifting and pulling motions. This includes pulling your pants on when getting dressed, picking up grocery bags off the floor to set them on the counter, and other actions of a similar nature.

Targeting particular muscles, bodybuilders frequently do this workout. However, studies show that the upright row can also be included into other people’s strength training programs, such as a program designed for career firemen.

Variations of the Upright Row

This exercise can be changed to increase the difficulty as you gain strength and to make it more accessible to beginners.

Upright Dumbbell Row

You can perform the upright row using a set of dumbbells if you don’t have a barbell. Keep your hands in a posture similar to that of a barbell upright row while performing this variant. Hands should be lined up with the thighs, palms facing in.

Bench Press Upright Row

When performing upright rows, a kettlebell is another option. With this form of weight, you can manage it with both hands, just like with a barbell, as opposed to having to control each weight separately (as you do with dumbbells).

Cable Upright Row

Using a cable machine is an additional upright row variant. You may easily change the weight to correspond to your degree of strength thanks to the cable system, which allows for fluid movement. In order to begin this exercise, grasp the bar at thigh height and bring it up toward your chest.

Plank Upright Row

A plank at the end of the upright row will increase the difficulty of the exercise. Lower your body into a plank position, hold it for a short period of time, then stand back up after performing the upright row and bringing the weight back to the beginning position.

Common Errors

To get the most out of this workout and prevent strain or injury, avoid making these mistakes.

A poor range of motion

As with any workout, your outcomes from the upright row will be hampered if you don’t use your entire range of motion. It’s essential that you are aware of your unique capabilities in order to ensure a broad range of motion. Never move within a range of motion that hurts or makes you uncomfortable. If you feel pain, alter the range of motion or try an alternative exercise.

As long as you can do it safely and painlessly, try to lift the bar to your clavicle. You’ll probably need to apply less force when pulling higher than you would if you were merely pulling to chest height. However, a higher range of motion with less weight is preferable to a greater range of motion with more weight.

Not Managing the Decline

A common error that will cost you results is failing to regulate the weight as it decreases. The exercise’s eccentric descending portion is incredibly stimulating. If you exert control over it rather than letting gravity take over, it will assist you in developing strength and muscle.

You run a larger risk of injury when you drastically reduce your weight since your shoulder joints and ligaments will be pulled. The pulling and lowering phases of the movement are the best for controlling it.

Bar Is Too Far Away From Your Body

Instead of arcing the bar away from your body, maintain it close to you by lifting your elbows up as opposed to arcing them out. If you keep the bar near to you, you’ll be able to properly engage all the shoulder muscles, including your side delts, which won’t be engaged as much if you arc the bar away from you.

Grip Placement

Try a wider grasp if this exercise causes wrist pain. For wrist and shoulder safety, shoulders should be spaced shoulder-width apart. The deltoid and trapezius muscles are also activated more when you hold something with a wide grip.

However, since everyone’s shoulder joints are different, it’s important to discover a grip that works for you and stick with it. There is no one grip that works best for everyone, and some people prefer to use a narrow grip.

To get the most out of the workout, be mindful of your joints, avoid painful grips, and observe which grip appears to provide the best stimulus. When you train your side delts and traps adequately, you should be able to feel the muscles fatigue, get a pump, and get weaker.

Using Motion

No turning, arching, or twisting throughout the lift; maintain a rigid torso and tight abs. It should be impossible for the legs to move. Keep your eyes forward, your chest high, and your back straight.

Don’t raise the weight by using your hips or legs to create propulsion. Reduce the weight you are lifting if you can’t lift it with good technique.

Heavy Weight

Only use this exercise if you are an experienced lifter who has confidence in your shoulder joints.
Due to the complexity of the shoulder joint’s mechanism, injuries to it might have a negative influence on your workout goals and take a long time to heal. Excessive weight can result in shoulder impingement.

Start with a barbell with no weight if you are unfamiliar with the upright row.

This will provide you the opportunity to use the lift while learning the posture and movement throughout. Be careful not to increase too much weight before your shoulders are ready by gradually adding weight.

So, to confirm, the upright row muscles worked are: Specifically, your side delts and traps. If you are standing, you will also notice them in your front and back delts, arms, and core.