When it comes to any exercise, it is recommended to take into consideration your client’s body awareness and level of fitness.
With a thorough assessment, you will be more confident in prescribing exercises that are either more advanced or require more body awareness – like upright rows. Some ways to assess the shoulders are: the Impingement Test (a.k.a. Shoulder Crossover Test); Shoulder Rotation Test; Shoulder Flexion Test. NASM’s CES program goes into some depth on the tests and the relevant corrective exercise programming.
Once assessed, and you also feel confident with the clients body awareness, performing the upright row would be a great way to work the detloids, traps, biceps and to a lesser degree the glutes, lumbosacralis group and abs. However, as with the body as a whole, BALANCE the training of all the muscles in the shoulder group and keep communicating with your client – be aware and avoid any pain or feelings of friction or “cracking/grinding.” You definitely do NOT want your client to push through such things.
The beauty of balance is that there are numerous ways to safely challenge your client, build strength and build your client’s confidence!