How to Do the YTWL Exercise

By Jilana Dennis

The YTWL activity is actually a series of shoulder stabilizing exercises you do while lying on your stomach. By working your shoulder muscles from a variety of angles, you strengthen your entire shoulder area, promoting better range of motion and preventing injuries. The letters in the exercise's name refer to the shapes your arms make at different stages of the exercise. Whether you use light dumbbells or just the weight of your arms, hold each “letter” for five to 10 seconds for two to four sets, and increase the resistance as your shoulders become stronger.

Step 1

Get ready to start the series. If you wish, grab a set of light dumbbells. Put down a towel or mat and lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and close together. Extend your arms over your head and let your hands rest on the floor in front of you.

Step 2

Do the “Y” exercise. Turn the palms of your hands toward each other and widen your arms to the sides at approximately 45-degree angles to your torso, so your body forms a “Y” shape. While keeping your legs, hips and torso flat on the floor, exhale and lift your shoulders and arms above your exercise surface.

Step 3

From the same starting position as the “Y” exercise, widen your arms until they're straight and perpendicular with your torso, to form a “T” shape. Your palms should be turned toward the wall in front of you. Exhale and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms off the floor, then hold the position for five to 10 seconds.

Step 4

Starting in the “T” position, draw your arms in toward your body by bending your elbows and pointing them toward the wall behind you. With your palms facing inward toward each other, your arms and head should form a “W.” Again, exhale and lift your arms from the shoulders, rather than the lower back.

Step 5

Begin the “L” exercise by returning to the “T” formation. While keeping your upper arms stationary, bend your elbows to 90 degrees so your fingers point toward the wall in front of you with your palms facing each other. Each arm should form its own “L” shape. Lift both arms together from your shoulders.

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