Home / Shoulder workouts / Barbell Upright Row: How to do, is it Good, Alternative Forms

Barbell Upright Row: How to do, is it Good, Alternative Forms

What is Barbell Upright Row

The barbell upright row or the upright barbell row is an effective lifting exercise that targets your trapezius and deltoid muscles. Usually included in upper body training routines, the compound movement will help you develop wide shoulders. However, it has been criticized for hurting the shoulders and causing tendon impingement. Therefore, it is recommended that you perform the movements carefully under the supervision of an experienced fitness expert.

Barbell Upright Row

Barbell Upright Row Benefits

  • The barbell upright row can be performed with a low cable pulley machine or a pair of dumbbells. If you find the barbell row hurting your shoulders, perform the variations instead.
  • Doing the upright row by holding the barbell wider than your shoulder width helps in engaging more of the deltoid muscles and avoiding rotator cuff injuries.

Barbell Upright Row Exercise Information

Other Names Standing Barbell Upright Row, Upright Row with Barbell, Upright Rows
Exercise Type Strength
Skill Level Beginner
Equipment Needed Barbell
Muscles Worked Primary: Shoulders; Secondary: Back, deltoids, abs, biceps
Mechanics Compound
Force Type Pull
Alternative Forms/Substitute Upright Cable Row, Smith Machine Upright Row, Upright Row with Exercise Bands
Variations Wide Grip Barbell Upright Row, Close Grip Upright Row

How to do a Barbell Upright Row (Upright Barbell Row)

  • Hold a barbell using an overhand grip (your palms facing down) with the hands spaced closer than your shoulder width. Stand straight, keeping the bar close to your thighs with the arms extended and maintain a moderate bend in the elbows. It will be your initial position.
  • Pull the bar up using the sides of the shoulders and make sure that your elbows remain flared out throughout the movement. Keeping the bar as close to the body as possible, continue lifting the weight until it almost touches your chin.
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds before lowering the barbell slowly back to the initial position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

How to do Wide Grip Upright Row

This exercise is done in the same way as the traditional barbell upright row except that you need to hold the barbell using an overhand grip with your hands spaced wider than your shoulder width.

Wide Grip Upright Row

Upright Barbell Row Tips

  • Your elbows should always be positioned higher than the forearms, and be sure to use them for driving the movement of the exercise.
  • Do not allow your elbows to go over the shoulder level.
  • Keep your torso still throughout the set. Do not lean back while raising the bar, and forward when lowering it.

Barbell Upright Row Video

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