How To Do Cable Upright Row Properly

The cable upright row is considered to as one of the best muscle builders for the back and shoulders.

It is a multi-joint movement, but is considered more of a finesse move. This makes it the perfect transitional move in the middle of your deltoid workout.

The traditional exercise is basically performed with a barbell, but here were moving to cables to provide a different feel.

Utilizing the cable pulley machine for this exercise is useful because it provides constant tension on the target muscle group as you move the weight through the available range of motion.

HOW TO DO THE CABLE UPRIGHT ROW PROPERLY

When performing this exercise, choose your sets and reps based on your ability in order to maintain good technique throughout each set.

The basic form is quite easy to perform.

  • Stand in front of a cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Your posture should be straight and your shoulders over your hips. Maintain a neutral head and neck position throughout. Your chin should also remain tucked throughout this exercise.
  • Your weight should also be evenly distributed along your entire foot. Grip the floor with your feet in order to create a stable foot position.
  • Hold the straight bar in front of your body and have your palms facing your legs. Your arms should also be stretched with a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Pre-engage your shoulders and hips while using your core. All repetitions should begin from this position.
  • While keeping the straight bar close to your body, start to initiate the upward movement by slowly pulling the bar up towards your lower chest.
  • Allow your shoulder blades to move naturally in sync with your shoulder joints and pause at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly straighten your arms to return the straight bar to the initial starting position.
  • Finally, pause at the bottom before starting the next repetition.

CABLE UPRIGHT ROW TIPS TO CONSIDER

If you are having trouble with the straight bar version of this routine, consider using a rope attachment as this can help to decrease excessive stress.

Consider keeping the elbows high but do not allow your upper arm to go past parallel as this may increase the risk of impingement.

Do not also allow your back to arch as you pull the cable up.

Finally, extra momentum used during the movement can potentially shift the load to other compensatory muscles as so, try your best to limit extra movements if possible.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE UPRIGHT ROW WORK?

DELTOIDS

All the three muscle heads of the deltoids that is, the anterior, middle, and posterior contribute to the upward motion of the upright row stage.

The shoulders are responsible for aggressively contracting and pulling the cable upwards towards your chest, especially during the second half of the pull.

TRAPS

Your traps pull the cable upwards in the lift. The shrugging motion will explain high potential for power output.

The specific motion of the cable upright row will allow your traps to take over in driving the cable upwards.

BICEPS

The fast-bending motion of the arms will engage your biceps in the cable upright row.

The biceps will not steal the show, but the movement will not be complete without their contribution.

Since you are bending your elbows to pull the bar close to your body, the biceps will act as helpers in this exercise.

CORE

This is the supportive foundation for the cable upright row. Your core will help to lock in the starting position and also help to keep your torso still in order to ensure that the correct muscles are worked in this exercise.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE CABLE UPRIGHT ROW?

This exercise will increase your upper-body strength. This is because it is an effective upper-body exercise that is designed to work the muscle groups throughout your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

Some of the muscles that are targeted by this routine include your biceps, triceps, anterior delts, lateral deltoids, and trapezius muscles.

This exercise is a functional shoulder exercise. It puts your shoulder joints through a full range of motion, strengthening them for functional day-to-day activities such as lifting groceries.

This exercise can equally improve your performance during other weightlifting routines. Employing proper form, you can use it to improve your strength and coordination for more advanced weightlifting exercises.

CABLE UPRIGHT ROW ALTERNATIVES

THE BARBELL HIGH PULL

The barbell high pull is a great alternative for the upright row, it closely resembles the cable upright row and uses the same muscle groups.

The major difference between the two however, is the amount of assistance from the lower body. In the cable upright row, there is minimal help from the legs in driving the barbell upwards.

On the other hand, you can perform the barbell high pull by incorporating hip drive from your legs. This initially helps in propelling the barbell upwards, allowing the upright row muscles to finish the movement.

This added leg drive will equally allow higher loads to be lifted, placing greater demand on your lateral deltoids and upper traps.

SEATED MUSCLE SNATCH

The first part of this routine is very similar to the rows.

If your aim is to maximize the involvement of your delts and traps, then this exercise is a great alternative to the upright row.

COMMON CABLE UPRIGHT ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID

Avoid ego lifting. Go for weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout this exercise.

Do not raise your arms above parallel in order to avoid impingement, which is a condition that reduces your shoulder range of motion. Always aim to keep your elbows above the level of your forearms.

Since this routine can strain your wrists, use only a wide grip. Shoulder-width apart is always recommended for wrist and shoulder safety.

CONCLUSION

The cable upright row is a great exercise for the upper body however, when performing it, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.