The upright row is a controversial weight training exercise performed by holding a barbell with the overhand grip and lifting it straight up to the collarbone. This is a compound exercise that involves the trapezius, the deltoids and the biceps. The narrower the grip the more the trapezius muscles are exercised, as opposed to the deltoids. Dumbbells, an EZ Curl bar, or a cable machine can be used instead of a standard barbell.
Due to the amount of internal rotation of the humerus during this movement, many trainers and organizations (such as the ACSM and NFPT) consider this a contraindicated exercise for all trainees. Most will at least advise those with shoulder impingement issues to avoid it. Abstaining from raising the bar above the chest line will help in avoiding injury. If pain arises, stop this exercise immediately, as it may be an indicator of a pinched nerve. Substitutes include shoulder shrugs for upper trapezius development and lateral raises for lateral deltoids.
While the movement resembles the end portion of the high pull it works different muscle groups. In the upright row, the shoulders provide the force to lift the weight upwards. In the high pull, the majority of the force is generated by the lower body, with the scapulae providing the rest of the force, and the arms are raised in response to and not as the cause of the rising bar.
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