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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Gym Expert
Exercise is the new black! Since it’s very beneficial for health, a lot of people are doing everything in their power to incorporate regular workouts into their daily routine. But we have different goals – some focus on strength, fitness, or both. If you’re among those who are working more on strength and building muscle mass, you certainly know what is upright raw. However, despite the popularity of this exercise, lots of professional trainers and sports doctors say that this is not the best option. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can’t develop your muscles. But, it is better to do some upright row alternative.
What Is an Upright Row?
The upright row is a free-weight training. To do it, you need to hold weights with an overhand grip and lift to the collarbone. It’s a compound exercise that targets biceps, deltoids, and trapezius muscles. It has been one of the most popular weight lifting exercises because of its efficiency. However, it’s also seen as pretty harmful for the shoulders. To get the best results from it and avoid injuries, you need to do it in a perfect form. It is quite often done by bodybuilders and those that do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Upright Rows Benefits
- Size of Shoulders and Muscles. It is a great exercise to increase the size of muscles and the strength of the shoulders. It particularly counts for anterior and lateral heads of deltoids.
- Upright Rows Are Compound Exercise. Compound exercises are good because they target several groups of muscles at the same time.
- Bigger Trapezius Muscles. A lot of bodybuilders and powerlifters are looking to build bigger traps. It is not only useful for other exercises such as deadlifts, etc., but it also gives them a better appearance.
- They Give You the Power Look. Even if you’re not a bodybuilder, but you want to have a strong physique – this is the perfect exercise for you.
Why Are Upright Rows Controversial?
Upright rows are undoubtedly effective when it comes to targeting the shoulders. However, in some cases, they can be quite problematic. One reason is that they cause shoulder pain and injuries. According to strength coach Dr. Rusin, the thing is that when you bring your arms up, the upper part rotates internally in the shoulder. It doesn’t have to be problematic when you have good posture, healthy shoulders, and perfect technique. However, Dr. Rusin claims that very few people can say that they meet all of these three requisites. If you’re lifting a heavy load and don’t have a good technique, there’s an impingement risk.
Safe Upright Row Alternatives
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s move on to the most interesting part of our text. As we mentioned earlier, there are very effective exercises that are alternative to the upright row. Let’s have a look at these upright row replacement exercises.
Behind the Neck Press
Behind the neck press is an upright row substitute that engages several muscle groups as well. The most important thing to do this exercise safely is to have the right posture. You can sit or stand while doing this exercise. We recommend that beginners start while sitting.
How to Do It?
- Sit properly while keeping the barbell across the traps. Feet should be flat on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees angle.
- Grab the bar. Your hands need to be apart in the width of the shoulders. Stabilize your core and keep shoulder blades close.
- Breathe out and push and lift the bar to the level of your head.
- Breathe in and return to the original position.
- Do one set of 12 to 15 reps.
- Try not to move your head or back while lifting the bar.
Behind the Neck Lat Pulldown
You’ve probably seen this alternative exercise for upright row before. It is an upper-body exercise that primarily focuses on the upper back. Here is how to do it.
How to Do It?
- While standing grab the bar while making sure that your hands are a bit more than a shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing forward. Then sit at the machine.
- Straighten your body in the way that the cable and the bar are above your spine. Shrug the shoulder blades.
- Exhale and lower the bar approximately to the level of your ears. Do not go to the shoulders. When the bar is at its lowest, shrug your shoulder and hold for a second.
- Inhale as you slowly raise the bar to the starting position.
- Try grabbing the bar with your thumbs going over.
Dumbbell Upright Row
Dumbbell upright row is an alternative upright row where you use dumbbells instead of a barbell. Everything else is the same. Here are the instructions.
How to Do It?
- Hold the dumbbells in front of your waist while standing. Palms should be facing towards you.
- Lift them slowly in front of your torso, keeping them close to your body, until you reach the level of shoulders.
- Make a break for a second and then go back.
- Change the angle of the lift to work on different muscle groups.
Cable Upright Row
Cable row is a barbell upright row alternative, and it targets the shoulders and traps. Using the pulley machine is good because it provides constant tension on the muscle group you want to build.
How to Do It?
- Put the cable as low as possible and attach a bar.
- Take the handle and stand with straight arms.
- Inhale and pull the handle high, in front of your body but pushing your elbows as high as possible.
- Slowly lower the handle
- Don’t let your back arch as you pull the cable up.
Barbell High Pull
Barbell high pull is similar to upright row exercise. The difference is in the support of the lower body.
How to Do It?
- Hold the bar as you would do if you were doing the upright row.
- Push your hips back and let the bar go down your thighs.
- Before you come to the knees stand back up and push forward the hips.
- While lifting the bar, pull the elbows high and back.
- Come back to the starting position
- It is crucial to keep your back straight and elevated. To ensure stability.
Upright Row is undoubtedly a good exercise, but as you could see in some cases, it can be dangerous to do it. To avoid injuries or any kind of discomfort and pain the best is to do upright row alternative exercises that are much safer. You can also do some rear delt exercises, for more effect. Whatever you do, we hope you reach your goals!