Dumbbell Upright Row

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Form Friday: Dumbbell Upright Row

by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercises: Dumbbell Upright Row
Muscle Groups: Deltoids, Traps, Upper Back
Importance: The upright row is a compound exercise that targets multiple small muscle groups, namely the rear deltoids and upper back. These muscles usually get missed with the more popular exercises when individuals train to the larger trapezius muscles. So simply adding this exercise into your workout regimen will assist in helping you train ALL upper back muscles! 


Proper Form:

  1. Begin with a dumbbell in each hand, feet around hip width distance apart and your palms facing toward you and grip slightly more narrow than shoulder width
  2. Your arms should be extended, with a slight bend as they hang out in front of your thighs
  3. With a straight and upright back, use your shoulders to pull the dumbbells up towards your collarbone with your elbows leading the motion and the dumbbells staying close to your body
  4. As you are pulling the dumbbells up, you should also be pulling the elbows back just slightly to open up the shoulder girdle
  5. Once the dumbbells reach the height of your upper chest or collarbone, pause briefly before slowly lowering the dumbbells
  6. Inhale as you return them to the starting position
  7. Repeat for desired number of repetitions

Progression/Regression: Barbell or Smith machine upright rows, single arm dumbbell high pulls
Tips:

  • Keep your elbows above your forearms for the entire movement
  • Do NOT use excessively heavy weight for this exercise. Be sure to use a weight that you can move through a slow, controlled range of motion for each repetition
  • There should be no jerking or swinging during this movement

Sample Workout:

  • 10 Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, 10 Dumbbell Upright Rows
  • 8 Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, 10 Dumbbell Upright Rows
  • 6 Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, 10 Dumbbell Upright Rows
  • 4 Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, 10 Dumbbell Upright Rows
  • 2 Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, 10 Dumbbell Upright Rows