Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredMachine
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Traps
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Smith Machine Upright Row Overview

The Smith machine upright row is a variation of the upright row and an exercise used to target the muscles of the shoulders.

The Smith machine provides a fixed movement pattern to better isolate the muscles of the shoulders.

The Smith machine upright row can be incorporated in your shoulder workouts, upper body workouts, and full body workouts.

Smith Machine Upright Row Instructions

  1. Select the desired weight and load it onto a barbell.
  2. Unrack the bar by rotating the safety latches off the j-hooks.
  3. Inhale, brace your abs, and then lead the movement by driving the elbows high as you pull the bar to chest height.
  4. When the bar has reached its peak, reverse the movement slowly while controlling the bar back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Smith Machine Upright Row Tips

  1. Don’t lean back as you pull the weight up, keep the motion under control and don’t rely on momentum.
  2. This exercise may be contraindicated for some folks as they have a higher chance of impingement during the movement due to anatomical factors, shoulder mobility, and hand positioning.
  3. If you can, limit elbow movement to chest height to decrease the chance of potential shoulder impingement.
  4. If upright rows bother your wrists, consider a dumbbell, cable, or banded options as these place less stress on the wrists.
  5. As you drive the elbows high, ensure the head doesn’t jut forward.
Yamen Elshaarawy
Posted on: Tue, 12/07/2021 - 13:07

I have a conflict between the way to this exercise and the way to do wide grip upright row, could you please help me

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/08/2021 - 21:21

Hi, Yamen. Explain what your conflict is, and perhaps we can help you out.

yamen elshaarawy
Posted on: Thu, 12/16/2021 - 05:34

the way we do both exercises seems the same to me

Jason Hebert
Posted on: Sat, 01/26/2013 - 14:49

Yes you can, but with a free bar you may have to go lighter in weight since you don't have the rail to keep it stable. In my opinion the Smith Machine is a great piece of equipment but may be for a beginner to intermediate person. The free bar works out a lot of stabilizer muscles as well as the muscle group you are working out.

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 00:12

My gym doesn't have this machine, can i make it just with the bar ?