Upright rows are a favorite exercise among bodybuilders. Due to the high risk of injury, they aren't meant for beginners. Incorrect form, or lifting too much weight, can lead to a permanent nagging shoulder pain. This bodybuilding exercise targets the middle head of the deltoid muscle and can be performed with free weights or on a machine.
Performing upright rows with free weights can be easily done at home or in a gym. To do this exercise, you must first determine how much weight you are going to lift. The weight should pose a challenge, but not be excessively heavy. Position the weights on the barbell and fasten the end caps. Lay the weights at your feet.
Stand with your feet pointing forwards and approximately shoulder width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and pick up the barbell using an overhand grip. Your hands should be approximately 8 inches (20.32cm) apart. Rest the barbell against your thighs.
Breathe deeply and lift the barbell straight up using your deltoids and upper back muscles, also making sure your elbows remain out and back. Keep your body upright with your hands close to it. Begin to slowly exhale after the barbell has reached your chin. Relax your body, just a bit, and lower the barbell back to your thighs. Repeat until you have reached your desired repetitions to complete your set.
The Smith machine is the most popular machine to use to perform the upright rows exercise. Stand inside the Smith machine, directly behind the barbell. Just like with the free weights, your feet should be shoulder width apart. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, making sure your hands are approximately 8 inches (20.32cm) apart.
Release the barbell from the stop guides and allow it to hang it front of you with your arms fully extended. It should rest against your thighs. Inhale deeply and lift the barbell until it is just under your chin. When lifting, your elbows should flare up and out.
Exhale slowly and return the barbell to the starting position. Repeat until you have performed the desired amount of repetitions to complete your set. Return the barbell to the stop guides on the Smith machine.
AS with any bodybuilding exercise, it is recommended you have a spotter in the case of muscular failure. Before starting or modifying any exercise regiment, meet with your physician. As stated earlier, upright rows should not be performed by beginners.