Row, row, row your…dumbbells. With so many rowing moves out there, it can be hard to know which ones are really worth adding to your routine. Well, if you’re looking to sculpt stronger shoulders, upright rows—yes, the move that resembles pulling on suspenders (just me?)—should be in your rotation. Tatiana Lampa, NASM-certified personal trainer at Fithouse, shares how to master this exercise and what makes it really shine.
How To Do An Upright Row
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing your body. Lift the weights by raising your elbows out to the sides until they come in line with your shoulders. With control, slide them back down to your waist. That’s one rep.
Sets/reps for results: Three sets of 10–15 reps with a light-to-moderate weight.
Upright rows help sculpt super-strong shoulders.
Form tips: “Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your hips, don’t arch your lower back,” says Lampa. Also, be sure to keep your abs super tight throughout the entire move. “Think about creating a letter “V” with your elbow as you draw them up, but make sure you’re not using your traps to raise them.”
Benefits Of Upright Rows
Hello, super-strong shoulders. Upright rows are awesome for “working the anterior and lateral head of the deltoids,” says Lampa. (That’s the front and side muscles of your shoulders, FYI.)
This exercise is also clutch for challenging your trapezius (traps), a muscle in your upper back that helps you shrug, keep your shoulders steady, and twist your arms.
In addition to building visible muscle, upright rows will also further your fitness skills and abilities. For example, mastering this move will help you better-execute cleans and snatches.
Make Upright Row Part Of Your Workout
Upright rows are a classic upper-body move, so they fit well with a number of strength routines. If you split up your workouts by muscle group, Tatiana recommends adding upright rows to your shoulder or arm day. You can also easily add this exercise to a total-body routine.
Want to try a complete upper-body workout? Try this routine:
Once you’ve mastered the form, continue to challenge your body by adding more weight. You can even try trading in your dumbbells for a barbell.
However you decide to make upright rows part of your routine, your arms and shoulders are sure to thank you (even if soreness may indicate otherwise!).
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