Upright Rows to Build Traps and Deltoids

Why are Upright rows so effective?

Heavy Upright Rows is an excellent exercise to Build huge Trapezius muscles and create that delto-pectoral separation bodybuilders crave for.

You can also do upright rows with cables.

I will cover information on  "Are upright rows dangerous" at the end of this article

Upright Rows Start Position

Purpose -- To Build Muscle Mass in Trapezius Muscles.

Heavy Upright Rows along with Shrugs build massive traps.

Execution Technique.

You can use either a Smith Machine, Free weights or Cable to perform Upright Rows.

Grips - Upright Rows can be done with both narrow grips and wider ones. The narrow grip focuses on Trapezius and wider focuses on entire shoulder girdle. Also the wider grip allows some cheating movement thereby allowing you to lift more weight.


Upright Rows Midpoint Position

1. Hold a bar with a narrow overhand grip and let it hang in front of you.

2. Lift the bar and get it as close as possible to the chin using your arms and elevating your shoulders to squeeze your trapezius muscles.

3. Now lower the bar under controlled motion until it comes back to starting position.

Points to remember

  • Remember exhale while you lift the barbell or cable.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements
  • Keep your back straight.

Cable Upright Rows

Cable Upright Rows are an excellent variation wherein you use a cable instead of Barbell. The stricter form and constant resistance makes this exercise more effective.

Are Upright Rows Dangerous? Are they bad for shoulder muscles?

Upright rows have got a bad rap with some experts who believe that they harm the rotator cuff muscles as they cause internal rotation of shoulder as the arm is raised.

But Mel C. Siff, author of Facts and fallacies of fitness says that it may not be so as many PNF stretching books which are based on well-researched articles includes exercises like upright rows in rehab exercises.

So Mel says that unless your technique is wrong or you have an existing muscle weakness, upright rows are bad for shoulders.

More confusion: Expert sports trainer Michael Colgan says that there is increased chance of shoulder bursitis when this exercise is done in the long run. It makes sense to listen to Colgan. Remember we are talking about someone with 25 years of athletic training experience.

Bottom Line: 1. Restrict upright rows to muscle building phase and no more than 2 workouts per month. There are excellent alternatives like Arnold press and shrugs to this exercise.

2. If you are involved in sports, its better to do shoulder internal and external rotations to build shoulders and shrugs instead, as muscle hypertrophy with upright rows might not be the best option for functional muscle strength.

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