Upright Rows

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    Upright Rows


    I recently had a rather long debate about this exercise with a few lecturers and physiologists at my university on whether to exclude this particular exercise from being a part of the exercise prescription course paper for degree students. After much discussion, they found that the exercise was more helpful than detrimental; which I disagree with.

    I raised the issue that the movement of the exercise at the peak of the movement reflects that of the test used to test for inpingement of the scapulae, yet this argument was countered with the comment of simply not raising the upper arm directly to parallel with the torso.

    I realised this exercise has been discussed before, but im really looking to put forward a cohesive argument that this exercise should just be dropped from the learning program or altered in such a way that is safe.

    What are your thoughts on this?

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    The best way to do upright rows would be to use a wide grip and bring your upper arms (biceps/triceps, not forearms) just parallel to the floor. Your grip should be such that at parallel, your forearms are perpendicular to your upper arms, and the bar is below your nipples. Due to the ending position, your forearms will have an obtuse angle with your upper arms at the start of the position. I don't think this movement is unsafe the way I described as lots of pros do it without issue.
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    The benefit to risk ratio is just not worth it, IMO. As you already said, the impingement risk alone is enough to toss it out from the repertoire considering there are safer alternatives with just as much potential for hypertrophy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja
    The benefit to risk ratio is just not worth it, IMO. As you already said, the impingement risk alone is enough to toss it out from the repertoire considering there are safer alternatives with just as much potential for hypertrophy.
    I could not agree more.
    Good post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    The benefit to risk ratio is just not worth it, IMO. As you already said, the impingement risk alone is enough to toss it out from the repertoire considering there are safer alternatives with just as much potential for hypertrophy.
    This is true...Guy at my gym had a horrible injury performing this ones at 155lbs and could not lift for a year. I am not an expert in anatomy but he did mention it went from his scapulae to his lumbar? I'll see him tomorrow and ask him anyway.
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    What if you limit the ROM of the movement? Does the benefit outweigh the risk if I were to 'alter' the exercise by suggesting only lifting to mid sternum or nipple line? Or is this just a waste of time?

    The thing is, the people who im referring to acknowledge the part about inpingement and simply suggested to not lift the bar up quite so high; however he hasnt actually updated the exercise cards (that show pictures and have discriptors of how the movement be performed) to avoid the issue I raised. So the exercise is still being recommended and tested on in that program. The students who had little idea that the exercise existed, or even those that did, now perform it all the time because of the "benefits" they think they are getting however they are completly oblivious to the damage it may be causing.

    I'm just interested to know what kind of damage these students could be doing and how that damage is caused, that way i'll have a much more knowledgable approach rather than just stating the inpingement issue with nothing else to back it up;
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiigzz View Post
    What if you limit the ROM of the movement? Does the benefit outweigh the risk if I were to 'alter' the exercise by suggesting only lifting to mid sternum or nipple line? Or is this just a waste of time?

    The thing is, the people who im referring to acknowledge the part about inpingement and simply suggested to not lift the bar up quite so high; however he hasnt actually updated the exercise cards (that show pictures and have discriptors of how the movement be performed) to avoid the issue I raised. So the exercise is still being recommended and tested on in that program. The students who had little idea that the exercise existed, or even those that did, now perform it all the time because of the "benefits" they think they are getting however they are completly oblivious to the damage it may be causing.

    I'm just interested to know what kind of damage these students could be doing and how that damage is caused, that way i'll have a much more knowledgable approach rather than just stating the inpingement issue with nothing else to back it up;
    If you both lean, widen grip, and limit the range of motion you'll be fine.

    Doing the traditional upright row doesn't guarantee problems for everyone, but like everyone has mentioned can lead to serious problems. The card as is should be tossed, and they can either make a new, modified one, or forget it altogether as it's not a truly essential exercise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    If you both lean, widen grip, and limit the range of motion you'll be fine.

    Doing the traditional upright row doesn't guarantee problems for everyone, but like everyone has mentioned can lead to serious problems. The card as is should be tossed, and they can either make a new, modified one, or forget it altogether as it's not a truly essential exercise.
    Thanks man. Appreciate it
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    I only go to the nipple/sternum (this is where upper arm is perpendicular to the floor) using a wide-ish grip on the ez bar. However, i don't really go heavy on this exercise. I only use 70 pounds and just do a slow negative. And a rule of thumb for me is if it hurts in a bad way on the day i stop and do another exercise instead.
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    I used to do them with the ez curl bar on the cables for a drop set as a finisher (during my very young 4 day split bodybuilder type workout days), but I stopped a long time ago. Just not worth the risk IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    The best way to do upright rows would be to use a wide grip and bring your upper arms (biceps/triceps, not forearms) just parallel to the floor. Your grip should be such that at parallel, your forearms are perpendicular to your upper arms, and the bar is below your nipples. Due to the ending position, your forearms will have an obtuse angle with your upper arms at the start of the position. I don't think this movement is unsafe the way I described as lots of pros do it without issue.
    X2. As someone who has had 3 shoulder surgeries, this particular exercise was a problem when I was bringing my elbows too high. As long as I keep them parallel as you suggested, I can hit my medial delts with no pain. Although I still stay light with this excercise as I find going heavier tends to be less safe, for me anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rucksdaddy View Post
    X2. As someone who has had 3 shoulder surgeries, this particular exercise was a problem when I was bringing my elbows too high. As long as I keep them parallel as you suggested, I can hit my medial delts with no pain. Although I still stay light with this excercise as I find going heavier tends to be less safe, for me anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    The best way to do upright rows would be to use a wide grip and bring your upper arms (biceps/triceps, not forearms) just parallel to the floor. Your grip should be such that at parallel, your forearms are perpendicular to your upper arms, and the bar is below your nipples. Due to the ending position, your forearms will have an obtuse angle with your upper arms at the start of the position. I don't think this movement is unsafe the way I described as lots of pros do it without issue.
    ^^^^^ Agreed
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