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Sit up tall, lift lightly and work the shoulders

Strengthening your shoulders does not always require that you lift heavy weights. For an effective workout, start with 3- to 5-pound dumbbells and move slowly, focusing on proper technique. Remember, your shoulders are prone to injury. Using weights that are too heavy could compromise your form and increase your chance of injury.

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1 Sit on a large stability ball or a sturdy bench with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, hip-width apart. Position your feet directly below your knees, toes facing forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your shoulders, elbows bent toward the floor and palms facing your body.

2 Inhale, sitting up tall with your abdominals pulled in to support your spine. On an exhale, keep your arms bent as you rotate them out to the sides until your palms face front (not shown). Draw your shoulder blades together and down, then straighten your arms overhead without locking your elbows. To release, bend your elbows, lower the dumbbells and rotate your arms back to the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times.

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Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

-- Karen Voight


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