Upright Row

Exercise / Shoulders

Upright Row overview

The Upright Row is a compound exercise that targets the deltoids, traps, and upper trapezius. This movement is effective for building shoulder and upper back strength. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Upright Row in your strength training routine.

The Upright Row primarily targets the deltoids, traps, and upper trapezius muscles.

Upright Row how to perform

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip. Your hands should be closer than shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Allow the barbell to hang in front of your thighs with your arms fully extended.
  • Step 3: Keep your core engaged, chest up, and maintain a neutral spine.
  • Step 4: Lift the barbell straight up towards your chin, leading with your elbows.
  • Step 5: Keep the barbell close to your body throughout the movement.
  • Step 6: Lift until your elbows are slightly above shoulder height, and the barbell is near your chin.
  • Step 7: Lower the barbell back down to the starting position with control.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, focusing on the engagement of the deltoids and traps.

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

  • Use a grip slightly narrower than shoulder-width to target the upper traps effectively.
  • Keep your chest up and avoid leaning back excessively during the lift.
  • Lift the barbell using your elbows, not your wrists, to minimize stress on the joints.
  • Control the descent of the barbell to maximize muscle engagement.


  1. Dumbbell Upright Row: Perform the exercise using dumbbells for individual arm engagement.
  2. Cable Upright Row: Utilize a cable machine for constant tension throughout the movement.
  3. Smith Machine Upright Row: Perform the exercise using a Smith Machine for added stability.
  4. Wide-Grip Upright Row: Use a wider grip to target different parts of the shoulder muscles.