Cable Upright Rows | Get Stronger Delts With This Superior Exercise

The cable upright row is a version of the upright row that is intended to strengthen the shoulders and traps muscles. The cable upright rows are performed by grasping a straight bar attached to a cable machine pulley.

The cable pulley machine is beneficial because it maintains continual tension on the target muscle area as the weight is moved through the range of motion.

Some people choose not to do the upright row since it can create varying degrees of shoulder impingement and discomfort. Try it out for yourself to discover if this is a movement you should stay away from.

How to Do Cable Upright Rows With Proper Form

woman doing cable upright rows at gym

Standing in front of a cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart is a good place to start. Your shoulders should be over your hips, and your posture should be tall. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position. Throughout the exercise, keep your chin tucked. Your weight should be spread evenly throughout your entire foot.

  • Attach a straight bar to a cable in the lowest possible position.
  • Reach down and grasp the handle with a pronated grip before standing up with your arms straight.  
  • Inhale and then drive your elbows high to bring the handle high up the front of your body.
  • Return the handle to the starting position slowly and steadily.
  • Repeat until you’ve completed the appropriate number of reps.

Tips for Cable Upright Rows

  • Consider utilizing a rope attachment if the straight bar form of this exercise hurts your wrists or shoulders. This can help to reduce excessive stress.
  • Keep your elbows high, but don’t let your upper arm go past parallel, as this can cause impingement.
  • If you have shoulder pain during the movement, a minor squeeze of the traps may be required to lift the shoulders and open up part of the subacromial area.
  • Don’t let your back arch as you pull the cable up, and don’t let your body mechanics be dictated by the weight.
  • Excessive movement can potentially shift the stress to other compensating muscles, so try to keep it to a minimum if at all feasible.
  • As you raise your elbows, keep your head from jutting forward.

Muscles Used In Cable Upright Rows

Target: Deltoid, Lateral

Synergists: Deltoid (Anterior) Supraspinatus, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Trapezius (middle and lower), Lower Serratus Anterior, Inferior Digitations, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor

Stabilizers: Trapezius (Upper),  Levator Scapulae

Benefits Of Cable Upright Rows

man doing cable upright rows at gym

Incorporating cable upright rows into your strength-training routine has various advantages.

Upper-Body Strength Can Be Improved Using Cable Upright Rows.

Cable upright rows are a great upper-body workout that targets muscular groups in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. The cable upright row works your biceps, triceps, anterior deltoids (front delts), lateral deltoids (side delts), and trapezius muscles, among others.

Cable Upright Rows Work Great As A Functional Shoulder exercise

The cable upright row workout strengthens your shoulder joints by putting them through a full range of motion, preparing them for everyday tasks like lifting groceries.

Cable Upright Rows Can Help You Get Stronger In Other Weightlifting Movements

You can utilize cable upright rows to increase your strength and coordination for more advanced weightlifting exercises like the snatch, clean and jerk, and, clean and press with proper form and practice.

Cable Upright Row Variations

Consider one of these versions if you decide to integrate cable upright rows into your bodybuilding regimen.

Barbell Upright Row

Lift a weighted barbell off the ground and hold it in front of your thighs for this classic variant. Lift the barbell from your thigh to near your shoulder level while maintaining perfect alignment.

Dumbbell Upright Row

Keeping both weights level as you push them toward your chin is a difficult variation that demands extra concentration.

Kettlebell Upright Row

Because the close grip might cause shoulder impingement, this variation is better performed with a lighter kettlebell. Choose an upright row variation for novices that allows you to keep a wide grip.

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