Build Hardcore Traps & Delts with Upright Rows


Bulking up your delts and traps by a few lbs is a fast upper body fix that will instantly make you look more muscular. However, while deadlifts, shoulder presses and classic shrugs usually get the plaudits for building these ‘super hero’ muscles, the upright row is an awesome exercise that’s worth trying out. So here’s how to build hardcore traps and delts with upright rows...


The upright row doesn't have the enticing reputation of something like the bench press, but when you try it out, you’ll wonder why! Performing it correctly delivers deep stimulation in the traps and deltoids, tearing down the muscle fibres effectively. If you haven’t tried the lift before, get ready for some serious DOMS the next day.


  • Hold a barbell or two dumbbells in front of you at arms length
  • Bring the weight up towards your chin as far as possible
  • Lower the weight and repeat

The upright row can be added to shoulder and back workouts, or thrown into any session to focus on adding size and power to the upper body.


  • Trap bar deadlift 5 x 5
  • Pull-ups 3 x 8-12
  • Upright row 5 sets x 6, 8, 10, 12, 15 reps

You should rapidly feel your traps and delts start fatiguing, but add extra stimulation by squeezing your traps hard at the peak of the muscle contraction.


  • Supplementing with BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™ will flood catabolising tissues with anabolic amino acids – sip throughout the workout between sets.
  • Stack it with 2 servings of OMNI MX® HARDCORE to add mass to your traps and delts rapidly – train them once every 5 days for 4 weeks to see noticeable gains!

Another option is performing the lift as a squat-row with kettlebells: Hold the weight in two hands at waist level, squat down until it’s almost on the floor, then push back up and perform an upright row.

If you have access to a stack of kettlebells, then start out using a heavy weight that you can lift for 6-8 reps, then progressively use less weight for higher reps (e.g. 6-8 reps, 8-10 reps, 10-12 reps, 12-15 reps). This makes a potent metabolic circuit when repeated for 30 minutes, which burns fat and builds muscle.

Try out the upright row – possibly the best exercise you’re not using!


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