Cable Upright Rows: What Is It And How To Do It Correctly

Introduction: The Cable upright row is a medium-intensity exercise that is ideally done to work out the shoulder muscles. It is an upright row shoulder exercise variation that uses a cable pulley and a straight bar with the pulley being on the lowest setting. The trapezius and deltoid shoulder muscles are primarily targeted but on the long run, many more muscles including the cardiac muscles will highly benefit.

Other than the use of cable pulleys and straight bars, the upright row can equally be performed with the use of dumbbells, a barbell or a smith machine.



Performing The Exercise

Preparation and Starting Position

Get a straight bar and attach it to the lowest possible setting of your cable pulley. And with an overhand grip, grab the bar. An overhand grip is that type which comes with your hand facing your body. The means will always justify the end. Therefore, the most appropriate starting position will determine whether you will end up with the best workout results or not.

While holding the straight bar, step backward so that the bar can rest centrally against your thighs and with your arms fully extended. This would be your starting position. For better instructions and guide on how to perform this workout, watch this Video.

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Doing The Workout

Upon getting to the starting position, all that remains is to bend one’s elbows out to their sides while pulling the cables up towards the chest area. The elbows should be the body parts to lead the entire motion and when the hands just get below the shoulders and with the elbows just higher than the wrists by a few inches, stop and return to the starting position.

When pulling the bar, squeeze, or rather contract your forearms and the biceps, holding there for a second till the count. Returning to the starting position is to be slow and in a controlled manner, as you avoid locking your elbows upon reaching the bottom.

Sets And Reps

The best Cable upright row workout plans feature an average of 10 to 12 repetitions per set or slightly more. And with an ultimate goal of completing at least three sets per workout, you will be able to achieve the best achievable results characterized with the Cable upright row.

And for you to get the best of results, just like with any other form of workout, the frequency of performing this form of workout plan matters. Doing at least three sets thrice a week on the minimum and for six consecutive weeks will give you noticeable results. Obviously, for faster results, the number of reps per set should be increased beyond 12, the number of sets per day to be more than three and the number of workout days to be increased.


This is not a difficult exercise to perform at all. I haven’t said you will enjoy the workout. I mean it is easy to learn and to do as you can start with the simple level as you graduate to moderate and ultimately the advanced level. This is unlike other workouts which bombard you from day 1 thus discouraging you from proceeding. With the Cable upright row, you just start with the level of resistance that you can bear and slowly but steadily advance up the resistance scale.

Advancing And Resistance

When you get used to the cable pulley you started with, it will be prudent for you to advance to the cables with higher resistance. In each and any form of exercise and workout plans, you only get psyched up to continue if you come across new challenges. Higher resistance cables will thus challenge you more, thereby giving stronger shoulder muscles among other benefits.

What Are The Overall Benefits Of Doing The Cable Upright Row?

The question you may ask yourself is “what do I benefit from stronger shoulder muscles?” This form of exercise increases not only the shoulder strength but your overall strength and body endurance. It also boosts the flexibility of the above-mentioned shoulder muscles.

Though not the best cardio workout, the truth is that if you many reps and sets per session, you get to a point when you start panting. The heart responds by working a bit harder, which is exactly how the heart exercises anyway.

Are There Any Potential Risks

It is important you master the correct posture of doing this form of a workout as an improper stance and performance may result in back injuries. Never use your back or rather arch it as a means of helping you to lift the cable. When you feel you can't endure any more, just give it a break.

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In Summary

There are many other forms of exercises that can be used to strengthen the shoulder. However, the Cable upright row is one of the best and simplest forms. It can be done anywhere, as long as you have the cable and the bar with you. Interestingly, the cable pulleys used for this form of workout are very portable indeed.

Just remember to always keep your feet in the right position and to allow your forearms and biceps to be the only body parts taking part in the workout. Any wrong posture and movement will either lead to back injuries or underperformance. Boost your flexibility and increase your shoulder strength today by starting the Cable upright row workout plan.

Kelly Joyner

Hi, I'm Kelly, I'm very glad you took a few minutes of your time to check out my blog. RegularityFitness is a blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy.

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