I am aware of the debate on the dangers of upright barbell rows and I acknowledge both sides. The fact of the matter is that it is a great compound exercise but a huge bummer is that it deserves almost perfect form to be safely executed. That being said, no one can ignore the mess of damage it could do to your shoulder.

Many people, came up with the idea that if they switch to say dumbbell it at least prevent you from internally rotating your shoulder and locking it in place due to the barbell. I don't know if dumbbells really do help with the shoulder issue but hey it's a potential idea.

My main concern is resistance bands and if they help or not. Due to quarantine, I have been trying to rep out my workout using resistance band only and upright band rows seemed like a tempting exercise to try out. I was thinking if it's a safer alternative to say barbell or is the effect on the shoulders the same. Any answers or response would help!

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


Upright rows are safe, the are the same exact motion of side raises.

Upright rows being bad for the shoulders is a myth spread by Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean-x, who in his own hypocrisy does high pulls with bad form replicating a upright row.

Unless you have past injuries you can bench,squat, row, pull, throw, push, deadlift, run, jump...if you obviously have past injuries then some exercises can hurt.

From scientific studies, upright rows are safe for healthy individuals and when you suffer form shoulder issues simply limiting the range of motion by lifting the arms slightly below shoulder height cancels the pain.

  • Thanks for the answer. It isn't' just Jeff Cavaliere who's saying this...many fitness sites talk about it too. Even Jeff Nipard the science guy behind fitness showed a study on how upright rows may cause should impingement. So I this am not sure...about this Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 4:29
  • 2
    Upright row is definitely NOT the same motion as side raises. I would not recommend doing upright rows with a barbell. With dumbbells I would still not recommend them personally but this is atleast causes less strain on the shoulders because you have more mobility at the wrists.
    – MJB
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 9:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.