For shoulders and traps the upright row is an exercise worth considering adding to your routine. Note that this exercise will mainly work your traps and delts, but will also naturally recruit some help from your biceps.
Also, you can perform this exercise with a barbell or a set of dumbbells. A barbell will be easier for controlling the weight equally on both sides. For that reason, the instructions below use the barbell method.
How to perform an upright row
To begin with get yourself a barbell that you are comfortable working with, but also one that will challenge you.
Start by holding the barbell with an overhand grip and the barbell positioned in front of your thighs. Your hands should be just inside of shoulder width apart.
Next; bring the barbell straight up close to your body and your elbows out to the sides until the bar is just below chin level.
Pause at the top for a second before finally bringing the bar back down through the same controlled movement to start position. Go again for reps.
As a final note; you should drive this exercise through your elbows and as always, maintain good posture throughout.
Upright row: Common mistakes to avoid
It is important to note that this is one of those exercises that could easily result in injury if not performed correctly.
On the whole, sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your upright row with incorrect form, you ultimately risk poorly engaging the intended muscle groups which could result in unnecessary injury.
You should keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise. Use the above illustration as a guide. This is the ideal way to ensure targeted results.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, your upright row needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends heavily on where you are physically and your overall desired outcomes.
As a guide; beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals. From there, you can build your bigger picture.
Beyond the upright row...
More shoulder exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of shoulder exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.