Dumbbell Upright-Row

Compound exercise, Free weights




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Neck: Trapezius muscle
    (Musculus trapezius)
  • Shoulder: Anterior deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, Pars clavicularis)
  • Shoulder: Medial deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, Pars acromialis)
  • Shoulder: Posterior deltoid muscle
    (Musculus deltoideus, posterior deltoid muscle)

Training plans

Dumbbell Upright-Row is a suitable substitute for similar exercises in Neck training or as a supplement to various training plans.

Dumbbell Upright-Row: Basics and alternatives

Neck training: Involved main muscle groups Dumbbell Upright-Row

Involved main muscle groups:
Dumbbell Upright-Row

As an alternative to the upright barbell row, you can also perform the exercise with dumbbells. Upright rowing with dumbbells is easier on the wrists but requires more stabilization. Just like with the barbell variation, pull the dumbbells up to chin height with both arms.

Dumbbell upright rows train the neck (trapezius muscle) and the middle part of the shoulders. So, it’s a compound exercise that works several muscle groups. If you want to focus just on your neck, take a look at shrugs.

Correct execution

If you’re doing dumbbell upright rows for the first time, it’s best to do it in front of a mirror. Make sure to move both arms to the same extent.

Most people have a dominant side of their body, which often results in one side being not only stronger but also having a greater range of motion. When performing the exercise, ensure that you move both dumbbells as symmetrically as possible in the same range of motion. This will prevent any irregularities and promote even muscle growth. Your posture will also improve in the long run with consciously symmetrical execution.

Video tutorial

How To: Dumbbell Upright-Row

Step-by-step instructions

Stand hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbells in your hands in front of your hips (not on the side) in an overhand grip (back of the hand outwards).

Keep your back straight, your head neutrally forward, and stick out your chest.

Now, bring the dumbbells up close to your body in a controlled manner.

Pull your hands up in a controlled and steady manner, without swinging, until the dumbbells almost touch your chin. Your elbows should be higher than your wrists at all times.

At the end of the movement, bring your hands back down in a controlled manner and start a new repetition.

Common mistakes

As already mentioned, even and symmetrical execution of the upright dumbbell row is crucial. If you introduce irregularities in the execution at the very beginning, you’ll have trouble getting rid of them later. This is especially important because your muscles may grow differently due to varying amounts of stimulation.

Therefore, we recommend using a lower weight at the beginning and adjusting the weight to your weaker side. If your left side is weaker, then only take as much weight as your left side can handle – even if you could do more on the right.