Upright Cable Row: Muscle Worked, Benefits, Form

The cable upright row is a variation of the upright row and an exercise used to build the muscles of the shoulders and traps.

Cable pulley machine can be used for an upright row in that it provides constant tension on the target muscles as you move the weight through the range of motion.

The cable straight-bar upright row is an isolation exercise for the traps and the medial deltoids. It’s important to do the cable row correctly to reduce the risk of getting hurt.

Cable Upright Row Muscles Worked

A real upper body powerhouse, the upright machine cable row mainly target your Traps and deltoid. Some of the body’s most integral muscle groups, including:

  • Shoulders: Working on the deltoids, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles, it is perfect for building strength, muscle, and stability in the shoulder and upper back region.
  • Rhomboids: Upper back muscles that connect the shoulder blades and offer a great deal of support, working on your rhomboids will improve your posture.
  • Biceps: As major arm muscles, building your biceps will significantly enhance your upper body strength as well as general upper body resilience.
Muscle Worked In Upright Row Exercise

Benefits of a Cable Upright Row

Here are the benefits of a machine upright row :

  • Muscle strength & growth: Due to its targeted pulling motion, a large group of major upper body muscles are targeted. Performing this exercise regularly is likely to accelerate your muscle growth and strength in your back, biceps, and shoulders.
  • Stability & conditioning: Upright row activates all major areas of the shoulders, making it excellent for upper body stability and conditioning.
  • Builds Traps: Traps are tricky to build. There are only a handful of exercises that mainly target your traps. The cable upright row works your traps as much as it works your shoulders.
  • Arm power: It will make your arms more powerful, improving your performance in other exercises and activities as a result.
  • Improve your posture. When practiced with proper form, upright row exercises help build strength in your upper body stabilizer muscle groups, helping you stand up tall and keep your back straight.

Cable Upright Row

The Cable upright row is a movement that targets many of the large muscles in the upper back and shoulders. It is key for many movements (see below) in strength, power, and fitness sports.

Upright rows are an exercise that nearly everyone can do using a wide variety of grip widths.

Cable machines keep tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion, ultimately increasing muscle activation and hypertrophy.

Cable Upright Row
Cable Upright Row

How To Do Upright Row With Cable

  1. Attach a straight bar to a low cable pulley. Grab the bar using a shoulder-width or wider overhand grip.
  2. Stand close to the pulley with your body upright, your shoulders pulled back.
  3. Exhale as you pull the bar up the front of your body until it reaches the level of your lower or middle chest.
  4. Do not pull the bar up any higher. Hold for a count of two. Inhale as you lower the bar to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Sets & Reps

  • 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.

Video On How To Do Cable Upright Row

The right and safe way to do Upright Cable row

  1. Make sure your hands aren’t too close together: Placing your hands too close together can result in injury at the wrist, and it can be easily avoided by simply moving your grip width to be slightly wider so that it is more comfortable for you as you lift.
  2. You’re lifting too much weight: If your weight is too heavy, the movement will require momentum. Heavy lifting will take the focus away from the shoulders or, even worse, put too much stress on them.
  3. Don’t pull the bar too high: Pulling the bar too high can increase the likelihood of an impingement injury at the shoulder. Controlling the movement and limiting your elbows to reach the same height as your shoulders ensure you are not exerting your shoulder and potentially causing an injury.
  4. Brace your core and keep your torso upright: When it comes to upright rows, this will also help to reduce or prevent swinging the weight away from your center of mass.
  5. Don’t roll shoulder forward: When lowering the weight, make sure your chest is proud and shoulders pulled back/together.

Alternative Exercises For Cable Upright Row

I will make recommendations on the best alternatives for the cable upright row.

Even if you love this exercise, it is always good to have alternatives to keep your body challenged and your training program fresh. Each variation has subtle differences in technique.

1. Dumbbell Upright Row

The dumbbell upright Row is a compound exercise that builds stronger and bigger traps, and rear deltoids (Shoulder). 

It’s a really simple exercise to perform. You hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift them vertically until they’re level with your collarbone, before lowering them back down.

Muscle Worked during Dumbbell Upright Row

2. Kettlebell Upright Row

The Kettlebell Upright Row is a variation of the cable upright row, and It allows more movement in your wrists and arms and is less likely to force any internal rotation of your shoulder.

Again, opt for a kettlebell in a bit less than half the weight of a barbell you were working with.

Kettlebell Upright Row

People Also Asked

What Muscles Does The Cable Upright Row Work?

The cable upright row is a compound exercise that targets muscles in your shoulders and upper back.

Are Cable Upright Rows Safe?

One of the main things about Cable upright exercises is that they are shoulder-friendly.

It provides constant tension on the target muscle group as you move the weight through the range of motion.


A cable upright row can strengthen the posterior chain muscles, including the shoulders and upper back. With great attention to form, you’ll reap all the benefits.

Kindly let us know, in the comment section below, your valuable suggestions!

Thanks for reading.

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