Barbell Upright Row

Exercise / Traps

Barbell Upright Row overview

The Barbell Upright Row is a compound exercise that primarily targets the deltoids (shoulders) and the trapezius muscles. This movement involves lifting a barbell vertically close to the body, emphasizing the upper portion of the shoulders. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Barbell Upright Row in your shoulder and upper body training routine.

The Barbell Upright Row primarily targets the deltoids and trapezius muscles.

Barbell Upright Row how to perform

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip, hands placed slightly narrower than shoulder-width.
  • Step 2: Allow the barbell to hang in front of your thighs, arms fully extended.
  • Step 3: Inhale and lift the barbell straight up toward your chin, keeping it close to your body.
  • Step 4: Elevate your elbows and bring them higher than the bar, focusing on the contraction of the shoulders.
  • Step 5: Exhale and lower the barbell back down to the starting position, fully extending your arms.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, emphasizing the engagement of the deltoids and trapezius muscles.

Starting position

Final position

CAUTION: Rember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Exercise Tips

  • Maintain a straight back and engaged core throughout the movement.
  • Keep the barbell close to your body to target the intended muscle groups.
  • Lift the bar with your elbows, not your hands, to minimize wrist strain.
  • Use a weight that challenges you while allowing for proper form.


  1. Dumbbell Upright Row: Perform the exercise using dumbbells for greater range of motion and unilateral training.
  2. Cable Upright Row: Utilize a cable machine and a straight bar attachment for constant tension.
  3. Wide Grip Upright Row: Place your hands wider on the bar to emphasize different parts of the shoulders.
  4. Smith Machine Upright Row: Use a Smith Machine for added stability and control.