Upright Row: Strengthen Your Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles

If you want to increase your muscle mass and strengthen the shoulder area, the exercise of rowing to the chin will interest you. Here, we'll explain how to correctly perform it and what muscle groups it involves.
Upright Row: Strengthen Your Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles

Last update: 01 April, 2020

If you want to train your upper back and shoulders, you’ve found the right workout! Keep reading to learn about a basic exercise you can do to strengthen both the trapezius and the deltoid muscles. The upright row is very simple to perform but make sure you consider the following guidelines and recommendations below.

It’s important to know how this exercise affects your body. One of the main reasons for this is that doing the upright row incorrectly can lead to a very serious injury. 

In addition, you’ll also learn about some variations of this exercise so that you can practice it in different ways. Therefore, you can do the exercise the way that suits you best or you can switch things up to avoid becoming bored.

Benefits of the upright row

The upright row isn’t one of the most popular exercises at gyms. In spite of this, it’s one of the most effective, so it’s a good idea to learn how to do it and include it in your training routine. If you do this exercise regularly, you’ll notice some of the following benefits, among others:

  • Increased strength: you need to do the upright row using a heavier weight after you learn the proper technique of course. If you do it as part of your gym routine, you’ll be able to include more and more weight and, as a result, increase your strength over time.
  • Definition and muscle hypertrophy: this is the main objective of most people who go to the gym. With this exercise, you’ll achieve greater definition and increase the muscular volume in your neck, back, and shoulders. In addition, since it’s an exercise that’s performed simultaneously with both arms, you work both equally.

How to perform the upright row

The upright row is quite an easy exercise to learn. You just have to follow these steps:

  • Stand upright and hold the bar with both hands. It’s important that your hands are at least shoulder-width apart.
The upright row is a fantastic exercise for the shoulders and back
Imagen: alexanderweinberg.com

  • Your back should be completely straight and your arms stretched out without bending.
  • Take a breath before starting the exercise; you must hold your breath during the entire repetition.
  • Raise the bar continuously and non-stop, until you reach your chin. Make sure you keep the bar very close to your body.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Lower slowly and continuously, then start the cycle again.

This would be the basic exercise, but there are other variations such as open grip, dumbbell or vertical. You can combine them according to your objective. In addition, this will help you to avoid feeling that your workouts are monotonous and boring.

Perform this exercise correctly

If you don’t do this exercise properly, the results can be seriously damaging. That’s why, before starting any type of physical work, you must pay special attention to learning how to do it properly.

If you do it in a gym, a professional can advise you on how to do it correctly. On the other hand, if you usually work out at home, pay special attention to the following tips and read them carefully:

Hold the bar with your arms perpendicular to your body

This means that your hands must be about shoulder-width apart. Holding the bar at an acute angle between your arms and torso will prevent you from putting in the necessary effort. Also, you’ll realize right away that this is a really awkward position.

Increase weight proportionally

There are many athletes who overexert their bodies by trying to lift more weight than they really can. This is a serious mistake since there’s no point in lifting excessive weight. In fact, if you do this, you will most likely end up with an injury.

Starting with a weight that you feel comfortable with is the best idea. In other words, the amount of weight you lift should require a substantial effort but shouldn’t be overly demanding or cause severe pain. Progressively, you’ll be able to increase the weight as your physical condition improves.

Watch your back

Out of all the possible injuries that may arise as a result of doing this exercise improperly, the most likely is the back. However, you can do things to prevent this. In addition to lifting a suitable amount of weight (as we’ve already discussed) you also need to pay attention to keeping your back straight.

Rowing exercises allow you to strengthen several muscle groups at the same time upright row

Image: musculaciontotal.com

You can do the exercise in front of a mirror to see if you’re curving your back with each repetition. In this way, you can immediately correct your position.

Conclusion: add the upright row to your workout

The upright row is highly recommended for training the upper back and shoulders. In addition, you only need to have dumbells, a bar or a resistance band. Additionally, you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

Another of the advantages is that there are several variations of this exercise. Therefore, you can modify it to suit your goals and prevent monotonous workouts.

If you’re going to start including this exercise in your regular workout schedule, remember to take into account the safety tips you read about to avoid injuries. Remember, keep your back straight and your arms perpendicular to your torso. Finally, use the right amount of weight for your personal abilities and goals. 

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  • Zambrano Leiton, Y. A., & García Ortiz, D. G. (2014). Métodos para el desarrollo de la flexibilidad en el deporte: ventajas y desventajas de sus técnicas de entrenamiento. Universidad Del Valle. Instituto de Educación y Pedagogía.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.