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Blast your shoulders with barbell upright rows

Move of the Week: Barbell Upright Rows

Blast your shoulders with barbell upright rows

The barbell upright row is a highly effective exercise to include in your training regimen to build mammoth shoulders. Without fully developed trapezius your physique will look incomplete on stage.

Upright rows and shoulder presses are the only multi-joint exercises you can do for shoulders. When you the perform the movement with a narrow grip you target the middle and upper trapezius while widening your grip will place more emphasis on the front and side deltoids.

Barbell Upright Rows: How to perform the move.

  • The Move:
  • Target Muscles:
  • Alternatives:
  • Tips:
  • Step 1: Load the barbell with the correct load and take a narrow or wider overhand grip. The barbell should rest on top of your thighs with your arms extended. Your back should be straight and there should be a slight bend in your elbows. This is your starting position.
  • Step 2: Raise the barbell to just below your chin while keeping the barbell close to your body.
  • Step 3: Slowly return the barbell to the starting position and repeat for the desired repetitions.

Primary muscle targeted: Side (lateral) deltoid head

Secondary and stabilisers: Front (anterior) deltoid head, middle and upper trapezius, brachialis, long head of the biceps, short head of the biceps, brachioradialis and serratus anterior.

The trapezius is a muscle that extends beyond the neck and between the shoulder blades. Its basic function is to lift the entire deltoid muscle, drawing the shoulder blade in different directions. It also assists in head movement.

Upright rows can be executed by using two dumbbells, a kettlebell or a straight bar attached to a low pulley cable machine. You can also do shoulder shrugs to work the trapezius muscle.
  • Don’t lift the barbell too high. This could cause a painful condition called shoulder impingement. The shoulder blade rubs against the rotator cuff and results in irritation and diminished range of motion.
  • Keep the barbell close to your body when performing upright rows.
  • Only lift the barbell to the collar bones or top of the shoulders and just below your chin. If you move the barbell too high it will increase your risk of injury.
  • A shoulder-width grip gives greater freedom of movement.

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