Why it's on the list: Upright rows have a reputation as a shoulder destroyer, but like anything, it's all about how you perform them. As personal trainer Jimmy Peña explains in the article, "How Wide Should My Grip Be on an Upright Row," don't take a close grip, which can internally rotate your shoulders. Instead, take a wider grip where your upper arms go directly out to your sides.
The science backs this up, too. A wider grip has been demonstrated to both significantly increase delt activation and also minimizing the biceps' role in the movement. You can also perform these one arm at a time to get the same effect.
Upright Row Variations for Shoulder Development:
- Barbell upright row
- Dumbbell upright row (double-arm and single-arm)
- Cable upright row
- Smith Machine upright row
In your workout: Even though it's technically a multijoint movement, don't do this exercise first in your workout. Do it after your presses for 8-10 reps per set, in supersets with front raises, or as a burnout move at the end of your routine.