Whenever you are not perceiving wide grip upright row where you want it to be, your grasp may be blamed. Here’s the directory that will better your performance with this classic shoulder builder!

The wide grip upright row is actually the Jan Brady of shoulder training; it’s very efficient but often ignored multi joint gesture that never gets the love of its more notable sibling, the overhead press.

Part of this is because some people’s shoulders just can’t endure upright rows, but for those who can, it’s undoubtedly a great shoulder builder you can do with any number of instruments, including barbells, dumbbells, on a cable or Smith machine, and on some focused machines.

Utilize a wider grip to build and enjoy more muscle. Evade pulling the elbows above shoulder height to avoid injury.

But all free-weight versions of the movement are as a result of same question: How wide exactly should your grip be? Oh well, that relies on your goals. So let’s start now.

Wide Grip Upright Row

Even as it’s not notable as the closer-grip version, the wide grip upright row places heavy emphasis on the middle delts because your upper arms transport straightforwardly out to your sides in the same plane as lateral raises. It may also seem more shoulder-friendly for people who can’t hold on to the close-grip version.

How exactly wide is a wide grip? About shoulder-width set apart is somehow right for most people, but be careful of the conduction of your upper arms. If they’re not transporting straightforwardly out to your sides, arrange your hand positioning as necessary to make sure you’re efficiently aiming the middle delts.

If you’ve never tried using a wide grip, it may at first feel a bit embarrassing, so you won’t be able to go as heavy as you used to do at first.

Close-Grip Upright Row

This is the version most people exemplify in the gym. With a close grip, your upper arms pull more forward rather than transporting straightforwardly out to your sides, a sure sign that the front delts are now part of the equation. This version also positions a fair degree of stress on upper traps as well as the forearms, which are exemplified to a lesser degree in the wide-grip row.

With a close grip, your hands should actually be about 6-8 inches set apart on a barbell. You’ll be better able to level up the bar if your hands don’t push up against each other.

Which Wide Grip Upright Row Should I Use?

Both versions aim directly at your delts, but determining on your goals and limitations, one version may be very useful for you than the other.

 1.  If you’re centralizing on the middle delts, choose the wide grip, in which your elbows move straight out to your sides.

2. If you want more front-delt activity, choose the close-grip version.

4. If you have any sort of pre-existing shoulder problem, stay away from close-grip rows, and  maintain your hands wide! The narrow version positions undue stress on the smaller, delicate muscles of the rotator cuff as you lift your elbows above your hands.

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 5.  If procuring your upper traps and/ or forearms is essential, go narrow. Those muscles are more highly incorporated with the close grip.

 6. Don’t be scared to bring down  the barbell here and use dumbbells, which give more freedom to pick a convenient width and carry a lower risk of shoulder pain than barbells.

A wider grip has been displayed in studies to boost deltoid and trapezius activity, and relatedly, less biceps brachii activity. In conjunction to maximizing enlistment of the muscle we’re trying to grow, we need to also consider exercise safety. Prevent pulling the elbows above shoulder height.

Studies prove that collision typically tops between 70° and 120° of glenohumeral rise. Authors of a 2011 paper advocate that asymptomatic individuals increase  their arms during the upright row to just below 90° (shoulder height). Other authors have made similar advocations, so at least in this situation, turn a deaf ear to the full-ROM gods.

Wide Grip Upright Row Instructions

1. Load up a barbell with the weight you wish to utilize and stand facing it with your feet at around shoulder width apart.

2. Hold the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down), and hands slightly wider than shoulder width set apart.

4. Pick the bar up, curving at the knees and maintaining your back straight.

5. Maintain your back straight and eyes facing forwards, raise the bar straight up while maintaining it very close to your body as possible.

6. Pause, and then slowly lower the bar back to the beginning position.

7. Ensure you repeat for desired reps.

Exercise Tips:

  1.  Ensure your elbows higher than your forearms. The elbows push the motion.

 2.  Maintain your body fixed throughout the set. Don’t lean forward as you lower the bar, and back as you lift it. Transportation of the body makes the upright row easier and faster, and you will not get the most out of it.

3. Stop and squeeze the traps at the top of the movement, and then lower the bar really gently if you want to add some intensity to the exercise.

Barbell Wide-Grip Upright Row (Shoulders, Traps)

The barbell wide-grip upright row is actually a joint exercise which builds muscle and strength in the shoulders and traps. Now, this exercise gets a bad rap because it can cause internal shoulder rotation which can be very harmful. So, that is why it’s very essential to learn the  efficient form with very light barbells at first before training for any size and strength benefits.

If you have shoulder problems then stay entirely away from the upright row as there are other alternatives. But, the upright row is definitely advantageous and can indeed grant you with good results. So, try it out at the end of a workout when your muscles are warmed up for maximum safety and efficiency.

In This Exercise:

A.  Locate Muscle Group: Lateral Deltoid, Trapezius

B.Type: Strength

C.Mechanics: Compound

D. Equipment: Barbell

E. Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Instructions

1. Grasp  the barbell with your hands set apart wide and hold it down in front of your legs.

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2. Then, slowly pull the barbell up while blazing your elbows out to the sides. Do not let your arms hang down straight as this is very harmful for your shoulders. Exhale during this part of the exercise.

3. Now, gently lower the barbell back down until it’s in down below your hips and inhales.

4. Ensure you repeat for the desired number of reps.

Variations & Tips:

1. Always put your hands slightly up and straight to prevent them from hanging down toward the ground. This will actually avoid internal shoulder rotation which is very harmful.

  2.   Do not utilize heavy weight with this exercise because the chances of injury increase dramatically. Stick with light to adjust resistance loads.

 3. The wide-grip upright row locates the lateral deltoids and trapezius muscles.

Dumbbell wide-grip upright row

Exercise details

1. Target muscle: Lateral Deltoid

  2. Synergists: Anterior Deltoid, Supraspinatus, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor

3. Essential stabilizers (not highlighted): Upper trapezius, Lavator scapulae

 4. Mechanics: Compound

  5. Force: Pull

Starting position

1. Ensure you grasp a dumbbell in each hand and stand straight.

2. Rotate your wrists so that your palms face your thighs. The dumbbells should be being held at either shoulder width or wider.

3. Ensure you pull your shoulders back and stick out your chest.


1. Breath out as you pull the dumbbells up the front of your body until they get your lower or middle chest. Do not put the dumbbells up any higher.

2. Hold up for a count of two.

3. Breath out as you lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

4. Ensure you there’s a room for more repetitions.

Comments and tips

1. Upright rowing exercises like this can actually damage the shoulders of some people. For shoulder safety, maintain your body upright, your shoulders back, your chest out, and the dumbbells at either shoulder width or wider. Also, do not pull the dumbbells up any higher than your lower or middle chest. Ensure you see the Upright row predicates section on the barbell wide grasp upright row page to learn more as regards the risks of upright rowing exercises.

A.  Ensure you Pull with your elbows, not with your biceps.

B. The upper trapezius and lavator scapulae act as essential stabilizers for the dumbbell wide-grip upright row. They really do not act as synergists.


When studying the anatomy of the middle deltoid, the muscle head responsible for wide shoulders, the greatest exercise seems to be a side lying lateral raise, not a typical lateral raise or an upright row.

With the arm at the side, the lateral deltoid derives the most active tension, the form of tension happening when a muscle agrees, since it works at chilling length.

This would also permit you to get a deeper stretch for passive tension, since the arm can adduct without the body getting in the way, enlarging muscle growth via the extracellular matrix (ECM), collagen, and additional sarcomeres in-series.

Shoulder Biomechanics

Unfortunately, the biomechanics of the shoulder is confused.

At lower glenohumeral abduction angles, the rotator cuff muscles incorporating the subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor work hard to prevent the deltoid from instructing its force rising since it lies parallel to the humerus.

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This force couple at the shoulder has the deltoid pulling upward and the rotator cuff muscles pulling downward. This permits a rotatory component, with the supraspinatus and deltoid pulling the humerus outward instead.

Otherwise, impingement of the supraspinatus tendon and the subacromial bursa underneath the acromion procedure will occur, as the subacromial space decreases.

The supraspinatus Performs with the deltoid. It is more active at lower abduction angles for compression of the humeral head into the glenoid socket and due to more incessant moment arm versus the deltoid.

At lower abduction angles, the middle deltoid may be repressed despite these mechanisms. The strength and size of the deltoid far beyond the rotator cuff difficulty. This means the side lying lateral lift could fail to make perform the deltoid well.

Within the situation of bodybuilding, this makes sense as nearly all trainees concentrate on upright rows or more often lateral raises in uplifting  and seated positions.

In the past, some classic bodybuilders investigated with incline lateral raises and other positions. This practice never stuck. Modern bodybuilders have not strayed from these important exercises but perhaps the overstretch is not very essential for this muscle group.

Barbell Wide-Grip Upright Row

Sensibly we want an exercise that loads the deltoid at higher abduction angles, yet without shortening the muscle too greatly.

We know a short muscle produces less tension for assisting growth, since the constituents for contraction overlap with each other instead of keeping an optimal length.

We also want to train the muscle at long muscle lengths to boost passive tension.

The solution is the upright row.

The solution is the upright row.

Overhead press position actually and mostly works the anterior or front deltoid.

The empty can exercise works the middle deltoid more so, likely due to correct fiber orientation, related to an upright row. More practically, this explains why trainees are trained to tilt the front bell forward on lateral raises, perhaps fascinating it toward the rear bell.

The barbell upright row can also hit quite a few muscles. The brachioradialis stretches out and performs along with the brachialis. The fascinating muscles, the external rotators, the serratus anterior, upper and lower traps to a lesser degree, and more.

Barbell Wide Grip Upright Row Tips

This upright row portrayed here looks similar to an exercise Vince Gironda encouraged called the high pull, though I suggest maintaining the barbell closer to your body and leaning back instead of hunching forward. Nonetheless, it involves a greater range of motion than conventional upright rows. He portrayed these sorts of exercises as even better than lateral raises for enlarging the shoulders.

Though Olympic lifters are known for wide shoulders, Vince brings up a fantastic point that this is not likely due to overhead pressing as much as from the cleaning motion in their lifts, which incorporates shoulder abduction.

Give the wide grasp barbell upright row a try. Remember to strive hard for a stretch at the bottom. You’ll discover it builds wide shoulders nearly as well as any exercise available, plus hitting quite a few other muscles greatly.


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