Shoulder Workout, Upright Row with Dumbbell

Part of the You Can Learn Weightlifting series.
By Ken Brown
January 12, 2006

The upright row with dumbbells is a terrific shoulder exercise. Most weight trainers will include this exercise in their shoulder workouts. You can also do the same exercise with a barbell instead of the dumbbells. Using dumbbells, you strengthen all the tiny fibers in the muscles. Sometimes with a barbell one side of the body does more work than the other side. But the upright row will help you to build larger shoulder muscles.

Remember to breathe out when bringing the dumbbells up to your chin. Keep your legs shoulder length apart. Tighten your abdominals (stomach muscles) when doing this exercise. Concentrate on maintaining good posture. Holding the weights at the top for one second helps the muscle become stronger.

This is a great exercise for the deltoids. If you are looking for that perfect body then do 5 sets of 12. Or do the pyramid workout. Start at 20% of your max. Do a set of 12. Then increase the weights. Do a set of 10. Then increase your weights and do a set of 8. Remember the goal is to build larger shoulder muscles. Then place the max weights, and do 2 sets of 4 to 6. When you can do more than 6, it's time to increase your weights.

If you are looking for larger shoulder muscles, then you need to add this exercise to your repertoire. Big shoulders don't just happen. You need to concentrate on doing at least 3 different shoulder training workouts to maximize size and bulk.

A fine point to remember is when you drop your weights to your waist, keep the elbows bent slightly. You want some pressure to stay on the deltoid muscles even at rest. You will get a bigger bang for your buck this way.

As always, if you haven't exercised in a long time or you have long standing medical problems, be sure and see a doctor before starting this or any exercise routine.
Shoulders - Upright Row
  • Grasp dumbbells with fingers pointing to you
  • Raise dumbbells up toward your chin breathing out as you lift
  • Hold for one second
  • Return to start position breathing in
  • Repeat 6 to 12 times.
  • For conditioning and good health do 2 sets
  • BodyBuilders do 3 to 5 sets

Upright Row Shoulder workout beginning position
Begin position of Upright Row with Dumbbell, used to build larger shoulder muscles

Upright Row shoulder training end position
End position of Upright row with dumbbell.

This page shows photos of the upright row shoulder workout with dumbbells to build larger shoulder muscles. The exercise works the shoulder muscles and is a great addition to your shoulder workouts. Other exercises to work this muscle group include, Behind the neck press, dumbbell raise, front deltoid raise, shoulder shrug and side deltoid raise.

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Shoulder Workouts
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  Dumbbell Raise Shoulder WorkoutDumbbell Raise
  Front Deltoid Raise Shoulder WorkoutFront Deltoid Raise
  Shoulder Shrug WorkoutShoulder Shrug
  Side Deltoid Raise WorkoutSide Deltoid Raise
  Upright Row shoulder workout with DumbbellsUpright Row

Back Workouts
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  One Arm Dumbbell RowOne Arm Dumbbell Row
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Arm Workouts
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