Upright Rows Alternative Using Bands + Band Front and Lateral Raises

By JC Deen



I made a quick video to give a demonstration on how to use bands for upright rows. The reason for doing this is because one of my original beta testers of LGN365 sent in a question about how to do upright rows that didn’t bother her wrists.

This is a complaint, although not too common, but worth addressing and correcting, if possible. If it’s not the wrists, it’s shoulder discomfort when doing the movement.

I tried to explain the proper way to do them with bands, but thought a video was a much better idea to show how I do them. Also, I’m working on my editing skills, so it was good practice.

I also managed to demonstrate front raises, which really need no explanation on how to do them.

I’ve also demonstrated side lateral raises, both from the front and the back.

Upright Rows

Let’s first discuss the upright rows. If you’re one of those people who experience shoulder or wrist discomfort using a barbell, you can try an EZ bar (the odd shaped bars used for bicep curls), which allows your hands/wrists to be at about a 45 degree angle to take pressure off the wrists.

If this still gives you problems, give the bands a try. The reason I like the bands is twofold.

  • Keeps us from using a lot of resistance.
  • Allows our hands/wrists to move about freely which may prevent the discomfort.

Because most bands keep us from going super heavy, we can focus on good form, posture, and feeling the movement as we perform it, rather than hoisting a heavy barbell up to our chin and calling it a rep.

Plus, if you’re doing upright rows after heavy pressing work with DB’s or barbells, you probably don’t need to be going too heavy anyhow.

Lateral Raises

The next thing I want to touch briefly on is lateral raises with a band. Keep in mind these are not going to feel the same as lateral raises with dumbbells. This is due primarily to where the resistance is coming from. Since you’ve anchored the band at your feet, you will feel less resistance at the bottom position, and the most at the top position.

With DB’s, you feel a similar resistance from top to bottom because the tension is not constantly changing as it is with a band.

More importantly, I want you to notice what I’m doing with my traps right before I initiate the movement.

I start by squeezing my upper back, contracting the traps, and then performing the movement.

I prefer to do it this way because it allows me to stabilize my arms a bit better, as I deal with the increasing resistance on the way up. As I lower the bands, I feel it gives me more control. The \ contraction for your traps is also good for hypertrophy, as you’re essentially holding the top position of a heavy shrug.

If you’ve done any back work leading up to these lateral raises, I find them to be a nice finisher.

I plan to do more videos of the likes, so if you have anything at all, please drop your ideas in the comment section!


BANDS: If you’re looking for bands, I always am recommending EliteFTS as their bands are awesome and we use them a ton at the fitness studio I train out of.

EFS Pro Mini Resistance Bands – these are very light, and good for what I was doing in the video – also used for band pull aparts, dislocates and face pulls.

EFS Pro Monster Mini Bands – similar to the above, but more resistance.

7 thoughts on “Upright Rows Alternative Using Bands + Band Front and Lateral Raises”

  1. Hey JC,

    Great video man, I really love using the band. I’m gonna try this out at the end of my shoulder workout this week to burn em out.

    Keep rocking dude!
    Eric Silva

  2. JC – Fair play giving the bands some love! I used these to help recover from a torn major pec tendon years back.

    A bit like the cable station, bands have the advantage over free weights of making it easier to keep the muscle under tension and that can be a big positive when you are looking to increase muscle density!

    Also, they add a great chapter of variety for your workouts if you normally use free weights.

    Thanks for the video demo!

  3. Wow, uploaded at the right time!

    Was wondering how to work shoulders without annoying my wrists or developing shoulder pain.

  4. JC,
    Nice videos. Very useful.
    I’ve been looking into getting a set of bands for things like this and also for things like band pull aparts, other rotator cuff work, and other various resistance exercises. Do you have a set that you like or recommend?

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JC Deen is a nationally published fitness coach and writer from Nashville, TN. Currently living in the blistering Northeast. Follow me on X/Twitter