How To Do The Upright Row

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Let’s talk traps for a moment. These upper back muscles are all too often neglected even by committed gym-goers, mainly because they’re tricky to train and impossible to see without a mirror. As always, neglecting certain muscles is a mistake. Well-developed traps will help you perform a variety of lifts better, including squats, deadlifts and presses, and they are also a necessity if you’re training in pursuit of aesthetic excellence, because hanging a chiselled chest and bulging biceps off a narrow upper back just looks a little off.

The upright row is one of the best exercises for building bigger traps, but it’s also a move that’s easy to get wrong. Most of the time this will just result in you missing out on the muscle-building benefits of the move, but incorrect technique can also place undue pressure on your shoulders and increase your risk of injury. One of the easiest ways to ensure your form is on point is to avoid using dumbbells that are too heavy, because once you start jerking and swinging to help you lift a weight you’re struggling with, your risk/reward ratio is all off and you might as well give up on the set entirely. Read on for the best advice on performing the upright row safely and effectively.

How To Do A Upright Row

Stand tall, holding a barbell or EZ-bar using an overhand grip with hands shoulder-width apart. (Alternatively, hold a dumbbell in each hand.) Keeping your chest up and your abs braced, raise the bar or weights to your shoulders, leading with your elbows. Keep the lifting stage smooth to avoid excess strain on your wrists, elbows or shoulder joint. Pause in this top position, focusing on squeezing your traps as hard as possible, then slowly lower the weight back to the start position.