When it is time to improve the look of your shoulders for your black sleeveless dress, turn to a cable machine. The cables and pulleys provide many options for strength training, including the upright row. Even if you experience discomfort with other shoulder exercises, you'll find the upright row a gentle, yet effective exercise. Train your shoulders three times a week with a day of rest in between and your little black dress won't need any other accessories.
The cable machine uses a series of pulleys to guide the cable as the weight plates lift and lower off the weight stack. The pulleys are moveable from the top to the bottom of the upright supports. Place the pulley on the bottom for the upright row. You also have a selection of handles to attach to the pulleys. A traditional row uses a straight bar, or T-handle, that is approximately 2-feet-long. Once you connect your bar to the pulley, select a light weight amount until you perfect your form.
Perform the upright row from a standing position. Face the weight stack and hold onto the bar with your palms facing you. Position your hands four to six inches apart. Straighten your arms and rest the bar on your thighs. Keep your knees slightly bent and your feet in line with your hips. Exhale, bend your elbows and raise the bar toward your chin. Keep your elbows higher than your hands throughout the exercise. Inhale, straighten your arms and lower the bar to the starting position. Complete eight to 12 repetitions. Adjust your weight so you are able to perform at least eight, but no more than 12 upright rows.
The row is an upper body-strengthening exercise. Your shoulders are the target when you perform a cable upright row. The shoulder is divided into three sections: front, middle and back. The row targets the middle portion of your shoulder which is felt on the outer part of your upper arm. Your forearms contract as you hold onto the bar. Your biceps, the fronts of your upper arm, contract as you bend the elbows and flex your arm.
You can exchange the straight bar for the wavy E-Z curl bar to reduce wrist strain yet not change the muscle stimulation. To change the way your shoulders respond, adjust your grip and grasp the bar closer to the center with one hand. Complete the next set with the other hand closer for equal training. You can also exchange the bar for a single-handle and complete one-armed upright rows.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.