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How to Do Upright Rows with a Barbell

Work your traps to develop a broad back—or at least strengthen the muscles that maintain good posture to help you fake one.


  • Step 1: Grip barbell & position feet Stand holding a barbell with your hands 4' to 8' apart (palms facing your thighs) and your feet shoulder width apart. Start with just the weight of the bar before attempting to add any weight.
  • TIP: By keeping your hands close together, you focus less on your shoulders and more on your trapezius muscles, which connect to your neck.
  • Step 2: Lift barbell to chin height Without bending your back, smoothly lift the barbell straight up until it reaches chin height.
  • Step 3: Slowly lower the barbell Slowly lower the barbell.
  • TIP: To make this lift easier on your wrists, try using a cambered curl bar that’s articulated to allow for a more natural grip.
  • Step 4: Repeat Repeat until you can’t maintain proper form—either your back starts to weaken or you can’t raise the bar to chin height. Now that you don’t have a barbell weighing you down, there’s no excuse not to stand up straight.
  • FACT: Racecar drivers use this lift to strengthen their neck muscles to reduce the strain of the g-forces they experience during the turns of a race.

You Will Need

  • Barbell
  • A carpeted or padded floor
  • Additional weight
  • A cambered curl bar

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