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Barbell Upright Row

If you want to gain shoulder width and thicken your upper back, then Barbell Upright Row should interest you! This bodybuilding exercise, called vertical barbell pulling up to the chin, a Barbell Upright Row, solicits shoulder muscles and trapezes indirectly.

Not practiced in the classroom, it is yet a basic movement very complete. In addition to strengthening shoulders and trapezium, it can also be useful to balance the work of the bust. Indeed, we tend to do a lot of exercises where we push down and forward like the dips or the pulley vis-à-vis; we ask too much about the front of the bust!

To compensate, the Barbell Upright Row is interesting and will solicit all the back. In its wide version, it is beside the antagonistic movement par excellence dips!

How To Make Barbell Upright Row

  • Standing, a bar held with an overhand grip (palm down) and hands slightly closer than the width of the shoulders.
  • The bust should be straight, the abominably contracted arms fully extended and the gazes directed forward.
  • Inhale and hold your breath by pulling the bar straightest up while keeping it is close to your body during the entire exercise. Concentrate on raising your elbows, not your hands.
  • Continue pulling until your arms are about 20-30 ° above shoulders level, elbows pointed up and out.
  • Once the upper position is reached, briefly pause and exhale.
  • Return to the starting position by controlling the bar and start again. Use a moderate execution speed.

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Targeted Muscles

It requires especially the middle beam (side of the shoulder) and posterior of the devoid (back of the shoulder) but also the trapezium, biceps, and forearm.

One can do the rowing chin at the bar, with a wide or tight grip, but also with dumbbells and even machines. The wide grip especially the shoulders while the tight grip favors the work of trapezes. Most practitioners use a tight grip.

Note that the trajectory of the bar also has an influence. If the latter is close to the body, the side of the shoulder picked up. If it is moved forward, the front of the shoulder participates.

In addition, if you raise the elbows higher than the horizontal by bringing the bar at the level of the nose, the trapezes intervene much more. It is the same for lateral elevations.

Coach Tips

  • Keep the bust upright during execution. If you lean forward or let your arms go in front of the body, rounding your shoulders, you will not need the outer part of the Altoids. The closer the bar is to the body, the more the shoulders remain behind and the more stress you will place on the would middle part of the Altoids.
  • Use a tap closer than shoulder width, but without exaggerating. If your hands are too close to each other, you will limit the range of motion which will go against a complete development of Altoids, trapezes, and large serrations.
  • It is difficult to balance the bar running when using extremely heavy loads. This also limits the range of motion while fulls amplitude is important for the completed development of Altoids and other stressed muscles.


Depending on your preference, inhale before moving, when the barre interested on the front of the thighs, or inhale when raising the bar. Exhale during the down phase.

Keep the right busts.

The main error when running the Barbell Upright Row lies in the position of the bust. Be sure to keep the bust straight and bend the torso during exercise to avoid land with your back. A position of the bust too far forward or too far back is not suitable. The bar must rise in the extension of the torso and not moved away.

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Ride your elbows!

The second mistake is to want to raise your hands. The action must rather come from the elbows that we will try to raise as high as possible. The raising of the elbows will allow the trapezes to be optimally solicited and to reduce stressed at the wrists.

Variations of the rowing chin.

Depending on the morphology, pain can occur immediately or in the medium term at the wrists and then the shoulders. If this is your case, try doing the chin drawing exercise with an EZ bar, or angled bar, which relieves wrist stress.

The realization of this vertical drawing exercise with a cast-iron disc directly in the hands, or with dumbbells, is also possible.

In the weight room, this movement can also be performed on the would low pulley, using a bar or triceps ropes.

Finally, we mentioned the hand gap, which can be tight, to promote the work of trapezoids, or wide, to put the priority on the Altoids.

If, despite these variations, this exercise did not suit you, opt for barbell shrugs or dumbbells that focus on trapezium muscles.


The exercise can be performed with a straight or angled bar, wide or tight grip. It is possible to use dumbbells or cast-iron discs if you do not have a bar available. Say, the bar is still more convenient and allows better control.
Another possible variant, from Barbell Upright Row to the low pulley with a bar or rope. The low pulley makes it is possible to have a constant resistance.

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