Smith Machine Upright Row Exercise Guide & Video

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Watch Smith Machine Upright Row

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Step 1. Grip the barbell with your hands about shoulder-width apart and your elbows facing outward. Hold the bar just below your waist.

Step 2. Pull up slightly and rotate the bar to unhook it from the machine.

Step 3. Pull the weight upward, keeping your back straight. Bend your elbows as you pull up.

Step 4. Stop the weight at collarbone height. Hold for a moment.

Step 5. Lower to the starting position, keeping your back straight.


The smith machine upright row is a size and strength building exercise for the traps. The grip position on a barbell is a slightly less than shoulder-width grip. It is important to get a full stretch when performing an upright row, regardless of the amount of weight being used. A benefit to performing the upright row on a smith machine is that you do not have to control the weight from moving horizontally; the machine takes the body sway out of the exercise. This can allow the user to perform the exercise with weight heavier than he would normally be able to do. As with any exercise performed on a smith machine, the downside is that the stabilizer muscles are not being used because the user is not fully controlling the weight. Normally, a shoulder-width foot position is used, but for those doing heavier weight or those with a back injury, a wider foot position can be used. This will not affect how the exercise works the traps but will provide the user with a sturdier base for balance.

Smith Machine Upright Row 4
Smith Machine Upright Row 3

Updated: March 30th, 2015