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Standing Lateral Raise

1. Hold a light weight in each hand. (A one-pound weight is usually enough when you are getting started.)

2. Stand tall with your knees slightly bent, feet slightly further apart than the width of your hips, stomach muscles pulled in to protect your lower back, and arms at your sides. Keep elbows slightly bent, and palms facing in.

3. Exhale as you slowly lift both arms up and away from your body until your hands are level with shoulders and your body forms a "T."

4. Pause and take a breath. Then inhale as you slowly lower the weights. Repeat 8 to 10 times. This is 1 set.


Don't rock or lean back as you lift.

Keep your elbows slightly bent, and focus on making your shoulders—not your hands—do the work.

Don't lift your hands past shoulder height.

Don't shrug or let your shoulders creep up towards your ears. Keep the tension out of your neck.

If this feels very hard, use a lighter weight. Once it feels easy, add weight or do another set.

Don't hold your breath. Exhale through your mouth when you lift and inhale through your nose when you lower the weight. This helps deliver oxygen to your muscles. It also helps you get into a rhythm, so you're not working too fast or too slow.



Overhead Shoulder Press

1. Hold a light weight (1 pound) in each hand. Keep your hands level with your ears, palms forward, elbows bent.

2. Stand tall, with knees slightly bent, feet just wider than your hips, and stomach muscles pulled in gently to protect your lower back.

3. Exhale as you slowly push the weights up toward the ceiling until your arms are straight. Keep the weights over your shoulders. Pause and take a breath. Then inhale as you slowly lower to starting position. Repeat 8 to 10 times (1 set).


Practice with no weights to perfect your form, then start with a very light weight.

Keep your abs (stomach muscles) gently pulled in to support your back. Stand tall, and don't let your back arch.

Don't lock your elbows when your arms are fully extended.

If you feel wobbly, try it while you sit in a sturdy, flat-backed chair.



Folded Reach

1. This stretch targets three muscle groups at once: your shoulders, upper back, and arms. Girls who do yoga call this one Child's Pose.

2. Sit on the floor with your legs folded underneath you.

3. Bend forward from the waist, lowering your upper body to the floor, face down, and arms stretched overhead.

4. Press your palms into the floor and gently pull your body away from your hands, until you feel a gentle stretch through your shoulders and upper back.



Related Links: biceps | butt/quads | calf | hamstrings | lower back | pecs | shoulders | thighs | triceps | upper back



Last Modified Date: 11/30/2000