Standing Upright Rows (A Personal Favorite)

Standing upright rows are fun to do and best of all, quite effective for building muscle in your shoulders and back.  They are easy to do and I highly recommend adding them to your program if you don’t already do them.

You can see the various muscles upright rows work in the illustration below.

upright row rear

Many different muscles are brought into play when doing this exercise.  If you look carefully at the illustration, you will see that the figure is doing the rows with a wide grip.  I do that too, on occasion, but usually, I use a close grip and in that case, your elbows should be much higher at the top of the movement.


When using a close grip, like the woman above, your elbows should be close to ear height when you raise the bar.  I like using a barbell but you can also use dumbbells for this exercise.


For me, it’s simply easier to keep proper form, particularly when I’m doing heavy rows if I use a barbell, but using dumbbells is a viable variation that many people like.  You can also do upright rows using bands.



Whichever equipment you decide to use to perform upright rows, take care to use proper form and you’re guaranteed to get great results.


6 responses

  1. Love upright rows. Great for building a nice taper.

    1. For some reason, I really enjoy doing them too. You don’t have to go too heavy to get wonderful results. I like seated rows too…actually, I love all back exercises. Legs…not so much…

      1. I’m really learning to love back and shoulders

  2. Doc,

    How did you get my picture? The muscle picture looks just like the image that was on the monitor at the TSA invasive screening booth when I when through it this morning.

    1. I cannot reveal my sources BUT I needed a top notch physique to illustrate proper form. I’m glad you’re not upset that I used your image without permission. By the way I don’t think you got those big muscles by lifting those little weights. You weren’t putting maximum effort into your row. Next time I want to see some 45’s on that bar! Also, the TSA people are getting annoyed. You’re not supposed to be banging around their little machine with all that iron! It’s setting off alarms and messing with the calibration.

      1. In truth the only alarms I set off is all the lead in my butt.

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