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Upright Rows


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I love upright rows, but I have heard and seen many variations on the range of motion. Right now, I am starting with my elbows slightly bent, the bar down below my waist and raising it about level with my colar bones. Does that sound like a proper range of motion? I have heard going too far up can be hard on joints.

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Upright rows are a move that are rather controversial. I've read several trainers (PT's, people with degrees in kinesiology and/or expertise in body building) who are very much opposed to them, because they can aggravate or cause shoulder problems, especially impingement problems.

 

I personally choose exercises that have a low risk of injury, which doesn't include these (of course, some people can do them till the cows come home and have no problems, but I feel they are contraindicated for most people. And one bad thing is that you won't necessarily know that they are bad for you until something goes wrong, and it could be chronic).

 

I do modified upright rows (I call them 'low and wide rows'), keeping my hands on the outside of my torso, just skimming the sides of my body, and I lift up until my upper arm is parallel with the floor, so that at the top of the move it's almost like a scarcrow, but with the arms down. I also do them with dumbbells, which I prefer for all shoulder work, because they allow for a natural path of motion of the arms and shoulders (a joint that can be quite tricky).

 

There really is no reason to bring the hands up to the collarbone. The small amount of added tension it may put on the shoulder muscle doesn't, IMO, make up for the increase risk of impingment.

 

But, like I said, that's me: I'd rather be safe than sorry, and the appearance and strength of my shoulders are fine by me.

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Like Kathryn said...

 

If you would like to continue with this Exercise though...

 

So you don't cause impingement of the rotator cuff, stop when arms are parallel to the floor. Beyond this point is for sure going to lead to cuff problems!!!

 

Hope this helps...

 

Steve

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The High Pull is an olympic lift. Check it out:

 

http://exrx.net/AnimatedEx/OlympicLifts/HighPull.gif

 

http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/OlympicLifts/HighPull.html

 

I tried the modified upright rows today and they seemed to hit my traps, delts, etc. all the good stuff you want to have hit while doing them actually better than normal ones because I was able to do more weight. What are high pulls?
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  • 2 weeks later...
Like Kathryn said...

 

If you would like to continue with this Exercise though...

 

So you don't cause impingement of the rotator cuff, stop when arms are parallel to the floor. Beyond this point is for sure going to lead to cuff problems!!!

 

Hope this helps...

 

Steve

 

Right on the money. I strained my rotator cuff from going to high with the upright rows over the summer. I couldn't do shoulder exercises for two weeks, like pressing movements, etc. If you have bad form, you will most certainly get injured. If you have good form, you may still get injured. That's why most people don't like them.

 

I haven't done them since summer and my deltoids and traps are good. For the deltoids, do shoulder presses, side laterals, and reverse cable flyes. Frontal head work isn't needed if you bench press/shoulder press regularly, and could actually hurt your gains on the bench if you overtrain the front head. For traps, do shrugs. If your adament about doing upright rows, I've noticed the further you hold the bar in front of your body, the more of the traps it recruits and the less strain on your deltoids. That might be an option, but I otherwise avoid them.

 

Good luck with your training!

-josh

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Another tip that I picked up from a kettlebell DVD with a vegan instructor (Mike somebody or other). Traditional advice is to exhale on the exertion, but he does many rowing moves inhaling on the exertion. I tried it, and it seems to stabilize the shoulder girdle because the chest is easier to hold upright (having air in the lungs) , making it easier to keep the shoulders in a safer, braced position on upright rows (my modified version) and lat rows.

 

Probably not good if you tend to lift hugely heavy weights, and hold your breath so you get red in the face, and risk a valsava maneuver, but helpful for shoulder stabilization otherwise.

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