This move is not only great for adding more shape to your shoulders, it helps you to lift heavy objects–such as placing a box on the top shelf in a closest–with greater ease. Do this exercise two to three times a week with a rest day in between.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart holding weights in front of your shoulders, palms facing in. Stabilize your shoulder blades, drawing them in toward your spine and slightly down.
Push one weight up, straightening your arm so that the weight is slightly in front of your body, rather than directly overhead. Then slowly lower the weight back to starting position and switch sides.
- Choose a weight that is heavy enough to challenge your target muscles, but not so heavy that your joints feel strained.
- Start with 1 set of 8 to 12 repetitions on each side. Work up to 3 sets as you get stronger.
- Try dumbbells that are at least 3 to 8 pounds, depending upon the exercise, and gradually work up to heavier weights as one set of exercises becomes easier to complete.
- Look up at the weights. Instead, look directly forward so that you do not arch your neck.
- Strain your joints. If your feel strain in your shoulders or neck, use a lighter weight.
- Scrunch your shoulders to your ears as you raise your arms.
Martica Heaner PhD is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist and an award-winning health writer with a weekly column on Health.MSN.com. She is a research associate at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and is the co-author of Cross-training for Dummies and Lean Mommy. Follow Dr. Martica on Facebook and Twitter.