It’s been tarnished as a shoulder wrecker and called out as the one move that will destroy your shoulders. Not true. Those who bad-mouth the upright row should simply consider other technique options.
With so much criticism around upright rows, it’s little surprise many believe should be scratched from your workout regime. After all, there are other ways to strengthen your traps and deltoids, right? Think again. Rather than ditch them, upright rows are one move you really want to master. This is because the upright row movement is a key element of the clean and press – so you can’t get all the functional strength benefits from a safe and effective clean and press without mastering the upright row.
The main issue with upright rows is the risk of shoulder impingement. Generally, shoulder impingement occurs when you internally rotate the shoulder (roll it forward slightly) and then lift it out to the side. When you do this movement, a crest of bone at the top of the humerus (the upper arm bone) hits a bone projecting outward from the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade). When these two bony prominences come together, impingement occurs, and this can create shoulder pain.