Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Biceps, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Upright Row Overview

The dumbbell upright row is an exercise used to build the muscles of the shoulder. It is a variation of the barbell upright row and mimics a lateral raise movement pattern.

Upright rows are met with some controversy as many professionals view it as an exercise that promotes shoulder impingement. However, if performed appropriately it can be beneficial in targeting the shoulders to promote lean muscle growth.

Dumbbell Upright Row Instructions

  1. Select the desired weight from the rack and assume a shoulder width stance with a slightly narrower grip.
  2. Take a deep breath then pull the dumbbells directly up the front of your body to chest height, keeping them as close as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Upright Row Tips

  1. Keep the elbows high but don’t allow the upper arm to go past parallel as this may increase the risk of impingement.
  2. If you experience pain in the shoulders during the movement than it may require a slight squeeze of the traps to elevate the shoulders and open up some of the subacromial space.
  3. Don’t allow your back to arch as you pull the dumbbells up.
  4. Extra momentum used during the movement can potentially shift the load to other compensatory muscles so try to limit excessive movement if possible.
  5. As you drive the elbows high, ensure the head doesn’t jut forward.
1 Comment
Shon Gale
Posted on: Wed, 07/13/2016 - 11:31

This exercise is used by beginner and advanced training training. If not you're going to limit your lifting potential for other lifting and pressing movements exponentially. Don't forget Lou Ferrigno and other elite lifting legends still use the movement this day. I guess the Hulk was a beginning trainer. SG