Dumbbell Upright Row

The upright row is a compound exercise that targets your shoulders. The upright row targets the side delts and the traps, and it will also requires the front delts and upper back to assist.

Here's the downside, The upright row is notorious for messing up the shoulders. This exercise is quite difficult for the shoulder girdle. So if you feel pain during this exercise, or have previously injured the shoulder, or just have a general concern for your shoulders health, consider choosing a different exercise.

Using dumbbells is a bit more shoulder friendly alternative to the barbell upright row, The dumbbells allow you to widen the grip as you come up, which is less stressful on the shoulders. It also lets you rotate your grip for a position that is more comfortable for your wrists.

Exercise Video

How to do

  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand in a overhand grip (palm facing your body), hold the dumbbells infront of you.
  2. Lift the dumbbells straight up until chest height while keeping them close to your body. Keep your back straight and core tight.
  3. Pause for a moment and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position then repeat.

  4. Avoid going too high. This is the key rule if you want to do this exercise safely. Lift the dumbbells to chest height only while the elbows don't go higher than the shoulders. Lifting the weight higher puts a lot of stress on your rotator cuff, which puts you in a higher risk of shoulder damage.

    Keep your back still. A common mistake is to arch the back while lifting resulting in a bouncing movement of your torso back and forth. This removes the pressure off your delts to the bigger back muscles. This kind of movement might indicate you are using too much weight. Keep your torso still, and reduce the weight if necessary.

    Lower the weight slowly. Don't just drop the dumbbells down, but lower them in a slow, controlled manner. Lowering them slowly will keep the tension on your delts, leading to more muscle growth. It will also prevent you from using momentum.

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