This move has a reputation for destroying shoulders—but it’s actually very effective if you do it right
A lot of trainers will tell you to avoid the upright row if you don’t want to destroy your shoulders.
“But in reality, there’s a right way to do it with a modified range of motion,” says Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S.
And if you do it the right way—as Gaddour demonstrates in the video above—it’s one of the best exercises for developing your traps and lateral deltoids, he says.
The key difference is how high you raise your weights. Many guys will pull the barbell or dumbbells all the way up to their chins—but when you lift your upper arms above your shoulders, it puts you at risk for shoulder impingement, Gaddour says.
So raise your weights just to chest level. Your upper arms should be in line with your shoulders—no higher.
Use lighter weights, and do 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets.