This Is the Upper-Body Strengthening Exercise Every Beginner Should Be Doing

POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

When done properly, strength training is one of the best ways to build lean muscle. If you're new to lifting weights, things can seem a little complicated, and that's why we're here. For some, starting out with dumbbells is easy, but others will find that they aren't really sure what to do. If you're the latter, we recommend starting out with your bodyweight to perfect your form, advancing to machines, then incorporating dumbbells into your routine.

If you've already got bodyweight movements down, a great machine to begin learning basic movements on is the Smith Machine. It's similar to a traditional squat rack, except the bar doesn't come off the machine. You can do a variety of exercises with it, like the upright row. It really works your trapezius muscles (the muscles in the upper middle part of your back) and is a complementary exercise to back and shoulders workouts.

If you're ready to strengthen your upper body and master another move at the gym, continue reading to learn how to do a Smith Machine upright row.

How to Do a Smith Machine Upright Row

  • Adjust the bar of the Smith Machine so that it's at the middle of your thighs.
  • Start with a loaded bar; five-pound plates on each side is a great starting point. Beginners should start with just the bar and gradually add weight as they become familiar with the movement.
  • Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar, and lightly grip the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Unlock the bar by lifting it up off the rack. Next, lower the bar so that your arms are fully extended.
  • With a slight bend in your knees, brace your core. Leading with your elbows, pull the bar straight up to your chest. With control, lower it back down to the starting position. That's one rep.
  • Complete three sets of 10 reps.