Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: Upright Row

This week’s workout is the Upright Row. Upright Rows are a great beginner shoulder-strengthening exercise, designed to isolate your shoulders and your traps. The model in the picture is using a kettlebell as a weight, but this exercise can also be done using a barbell, free weights, exercise bands, and more. Here’s how to do them:

Begin by standing with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart, grasping your weight with an overhand grip. The weight should be resting on the top of your thighs with your arms extended. Your back should also be straight, this is very important. This is your starting position.

Kettle bell dumbell exercise

Next, exhale and use the sides of your shoulders to lift the weight, raising your elbows up and to the side. Continue to lift the bar until it nearly touches your chin. Remember to keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.

Kettle bell dumbell exercise
Kettle bell dumbell exercise

Inhale and lower the weight back down slowly to the starting position.

Congratulations, you just did one Upright Row! Try doing 2-3 sets of 10 Upright Rows.


  • The weight should be kept lose to your body as you row up and down, this will prevent putting strain on the wrong muscle groups, and or joints, which may cause injury.
  • Your elbows should drive the motion, and should always be higher higher than your forearms. This will also prevent injury to your wrists.
  • If this exercise is too painful use a light weight, or no weight at all till you are comfortable with the motion.

We hope you try Upright Rows over the weekend, and then build them into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week!

Want more fitness ideas?  If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.