Fitness tip - Band kettlebell upright row

Fitness tip - Band kettlebell upright row

by Evigan Xiao 04 Feb 2020

Great-looking shoulders complement every physique, be it male or female. When it comes to creating the silhouette of a literally well-rounded pair of shoulders, the lateral deltoids cannot be neglected. However, they're some of the more difficult parts of the body to develop, even with compound movements like overhead pressing. 


When it comes to building the lateral deltoids through compound movements, most people typically gravitate towards the upright row. The problem is that the barbell variation doesn't allow for much natural movement in the wrists, while using a pair of heavy dumbbells is simply too cumbersome. Instead, try using a kettlebell in conjunction with a thick resistance band to get the best of both worlds.

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit


Performing the band upright row starts with threading a resistance band through the handle of a kettlebell. It's important that you utilise a band of a thicker variety, as it would be more capable of supporting the weight of a heavier kettlebell. From there, you simple grab each end of the band's loop and proceed to row upwards. Remember to keep motion primarily to your shoulders to avoid relying on your elbow flexors to do the work.


The biggest advantage afforded by the use of resistance bands is that your wrists are allowed to rotate naturally instead of being fixed in place like how it would be when grabbing a barbell. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of the grip width which will allow you to target your lateral deltoids differently.


The stretchy nature of the resistance band will also force you to control your movement speed to avoid unnecessary bouncing of the kettlebell. If muscular hypertrophy is the goal, simply slinging the weight from point A to B won't be enough. Utilising the proper tempo in your training will allow you to create enough time under tension to maximise muscular damage and metabolic stress.


If resistance bands aren't available, using the rope attachment of an exercise pulley machine (the one people use for tricep pushdowns) works as a perfectly acceptable substitute. As the rope won't have as much “give” as the resistance band, you'll have to be more conscious about how you move. Regardless of which exercise you go with, it's a much better alternative to doing lateral flyes all the time!