In a survey of 110 recreational weight lifters, 61% reported shoulder pain within the past year and 33% reported pain while lifting in the last 3 days. Since 36% of weight training related injuries involve the shoulders, it's important to get your form right. A study published in the NSCA's Strength & Conditioning Journal offers suggestions for upright rows which work the upper traps and middle deltoids. It's also a great exercise for strengthening scapular stabilizer muscles.
Try to keep the barbell as close to your body as possible, pulling through your elbows instead of your wrists. This maximizes muscle activity while focusing the work on your deltoids. When raising the barbell upward, try not to let your shoulders get higher than parallel to the floor. If endurance is your goal, try 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps using a weight that's lighter than 67% of your one rep max (1RM). To build muscle size and strength, load the barbell with 70% to 85% of your 1RM and perform 3 to 4+ sets of 6 to 12 reps with maybe a minute of rest between sets.
TIP: An upper body or pulling day workout that includes all these sets and reps of upright rows is going to require some serious nutritional support. Learn an easy trick to get more energy out of proteins, carbs and fat by checking out today's Breaking News post at OptimumNutrition.com