Glen Barnett discusses the Upright Row

barbell_upright_rowThis week I want to talk to you about a really great upper body exercise traditionally called an upright row.  The upright row is an exercise that will help you develop and strengthen the shoulder and also the trapezius muscles in the upper back.  You also get help from your biceps when doing this exercise.

You can perform the upright row holding on to a bar, dumbells, kettlebells, using a cable machine  or even holding onto a theraband or resistance tubing.

  • Hold the resistance tubing at each end with both hands and let it run under one foot (see picture).
  • Now lift your elbows up high and bring your hands to approximately your chest height (I have also heard an instructor say to her participants in her all older female class “to the height of your nipples or where they use to be”!)
  • Then, control the release and return to your start position.
  • That’s one repetition.


Keep the movement slow and controlled no matter what resistance you are using. The wider the grip the more you will target your shoulder muscles while the narrower the grip the more you will target your trapezius muscles.  Keep your chest open, belly strong and remember to breathe.


Now like any exercise there are people who will find this exercise doesn’t suit them.  Remember you should never feel any joint pain during any exercise or activity.  If you have rounded shoulders or shoulder problems then the upright row is probably an exercise you should avoid. Instead you could look at a seated row or specific rotator cuff exercises to strengthen and stabilize your shoulder joints.  Next week make sure you grab your Saturday Advocate and I will go through the benefits of the rotator cuff.


If you’d like to take advantage of a really great personal training offer we have at Coffs Coast Health Club at the moment which is 3 30minute Personal Training sessions for $99 , then give Glen or Jacqui a call on 66586222.  Call before the end of June to book.


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