Good Form: Weights help strengthen shoulders

Deltoid exercise

Bend your elbows out to the sides as you rotate your palms backward. (Charles Bush)

Get strong and balanced rear shoulder muscles by including this exercise in your weight routine. Sitting on a bench or chair makes it easier on your lower back when you lean forward. Begin with 3- to 5-pound dumbbells, then progress to heavier weights as you get stronger.

Sit on the front edge of a sturdy chair with your feet together directly below your knees. Grasp dumbbells in each hand and lean forward, maintaining a long spine. Reach both arms down, straight below your shoulders. Begin with palms turned in.

Bend your elbows out to the sides and rotate your hands backward. Pause for 2 seconds with your elbows at shoulder level and your hands near the outsides of your chest. It's important to keep your shoulders relaxed down and away from your ears as you raise your arms. This way you'll target the small muscles in the back of your shoulders, the rear deltoids. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."

karen@karenvoight.com
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