T Nation

Correct Form for Upright Rows?

Hi Paul,

You often mention Upright Rows for Trap development. I have tried Upright Rows with Dumbells/Barbell & Cables but I don’t really feel them in my Upper Traps. For me I feel a lot of it in my Front Delts. With the Barbell the exercise actually hurts my right shoulder but with Dumbells & Cables I am absolutely fine.

Can you help me with any cues on how to get this exercise right. I actually love doing it and want it to help me with the Traps and not shoulders. I naturally have good shoulders & don’t want more work for them.

Thanks in advance !!


Don’t pull above the nipple line of your chest. And don’t use a barbell if that causes you pain.

Thanks Paul. The line of action for the elbows should be up and just behind the body ? Should we try to retract the scapula before we start from the Hang position ?

Why would you retract your scapula?

Wow this shit is really rampant now. Where did all of this scapula retraction and packing stuff come from? It’s insane.

No. Allow your scapula to move naturally.

It’s interesting you ask this question because just over the weekend I was researching this myself. I found conflicting info online, with many people going as far as to say to never do them ever! I thought that was a little extreme, but the point is that there are strong feelings about this exercise. The advice I ended up settling on was a video by Jim Stoppani, who is a person whose opinion I value. Here’s a link:

He demonstrates the exercise on a smith machine and suggests a wider grip and not pulling super high. This seemed like solid advice and this is what I’m doing now. Hope this helps.

Jim Stoppani is not necessary someone to follow, there’s much critique of his content out there (this is general observation, not about video You’ve linked), for example =>

Instead, in matter of traps, You can consider this variation which is dedicated specificaly for people with icky shoulders, and as a bonus this guy have italian surname too :smiley: =>

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Insejn, thank you for sharing that link. I have blindly followed Stoppani for some time. It’s good to have a reminder to exercise discernment, even with advice from experts. Thanks.