Band Upright Rows are a solid upper-back exercise. They’re also a good supplemental movement for bigger Olympic movements like Snatches and Cleans. And because all you need is a resistance band, they’re extremely versatile and portable.
In this guide, I’ll teach you how to do a Band Upright Row, what muscles this exercise works and a few alternatives if you’re unable to do upright rows with bands.
How To Do Band Upright Rows
- Resistance Band
- Grab a resistance band, slight a foot inside and stand on it*.
- Place your hands on the opposite side of the band about six inches apart with an overhand grip.
- Flex knees slightly and stand upright with good posture.
- Pull the band upward along the abdomen and chest toward the chin.
- At the top, the elbows should be higher than the wrist, and above the shoulders.
- Lower the band under control, hands back to the front of the thighs.
- Repeat for the designated number of reps.
*How you stand on the band is a great way to adjust the overall difficulty of the movement.
Standing on the band with one foot will make Band Upright Rows the easiest. Standing on the band with two feet will make the exercise harder and the wider you place your feet will continue to increase the tension and make them more challenging.
How Many Reps?
2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
- Shoulders (Anterior Delt, Medial Delt, Posterior Delt)
- Back (Trapezius)
- Biceps (Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brach
- Forearm Flexors
- Secondarily: Abdominals (Stabilization)
Band Upright Row Alternatives
If you’re unable to do band upright rows, for whatever reason (you don’t have bands for example), or you’re just wanting to mix up your workout a bit here are a few alternatives.
Barbell Upright Rows
If you don’t have bands, Barbell Upright Rows can be a good alternative. The setup and the movement itself is basically exactly the same, only using a barbell in place of bands.
Pro Tip: Barbell Upright Rows can be extremely uncomfortable for some lifters. If you experience any pain while trying to do them, opt for one of the other alternatives instead.
Dumbbell Upright Row
More similar to bands, using dumbbells to do Dumbbell Upright Rows allows the lifter to find a movement path that is more comfortable for them.
Experiment slightly with the angles of the exercise to try and find where the movement feels best. If you find that Dumbbell Upright Rows irritate your shoulders, don’t do them. There are always other options for any exercise.
While not an exact substitution, Shrugs are another great upper back/trapezius exercise. Shrugs come in multiple variations as well – barbell or dumbbell and different grip widths on the bar all can change up the lift.
More Links and Info
Need more Upper Body Strength Exercises? I have a growing collection of guides in my Exercise Library – all available for free.