Build Without Bulking |Incline Bench Upright Rows | Erin Stern

Posted on January 28, 2017 at 12:00 AM

As some of you may know, upright rows have gotten a bad rap. Some trainers say that the exercise can cause impingements in the shoulders and can be harmful for overall shoulder health. I think that no exercise should be labeled as “off-limits”. That being said, tweaking the traditional upright row can make it a safer exercise. This month we’ll be covering the incline bench wide-grip upright row. By lying stomach-down on the incline bench, you’re able to target the delts better, especially the rear delts. Immobilizing the upper body can also help keep momentum to a minimum. Without momentum, it should be easier to target the delts. The wider grip allows for a better range of motion through the shoulders, and can prevent the shoulders from going too high. This can help eliminate pain. Higher volume and a slow tempo are used here, as you’re focusing on building and sculpting the muscle.

Here are some key points:

  • Start with an EZ bar that’s around 70-80% of what you’d normally lift for standing upright rows. This variation is more difficult, so a lighter bar is necessary. This will also allow you to focus on form and mind-muscle connection.
  • Set the bench at a 60-degree angle. You want to be mostly upright, as this will help you engage your delts. A lower bench may encourage the lats to kick in.
  • Use an overhand grip that’s about twice shoulder-width. You can use a false grip, if you wish.
  • Try to keep your chest up. This will allow you to engage your delts better. Consciously think about “quieting” your traps. If you start the exercise with a shrug, use a lighter weight. The effort should come from just the delts.
  • The motion should be performed in an arc. You’ll lift the bar up and outward. This engages the front delts, and also allows for full range of motion.
  • Pause mid-rep. Think about pulling evenly with both sides. Watch your form in the mirror.

As you start to fatigue, you can cheat reps – use your body weight to help lift the bar, and hold the bar mid-rep. Then, slowly lower the bar. This can help you get 1-2 more reps than you’d normally get with strict form. Control the movement though!

I love PEAK ATP as it helps me get more strict reps out of my workout. I’ve been able to stay lean and maintain muscle mass! Thank you for reading my blog. Don’t forget to check out the corresponding video below for the demonstration and for more tips! Train hard, y’all!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia

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