This exercise pairs well with former elite-level Olympic weightlifter turned coach Mike Causer's shoulder mobility exercises.
YTWL may look like a strange acronym but think more along the lines of the "YMCA" dance – your arms will form the shape of the letters Y, T, W and L.
For this exercise, do 10 reps each of the four different movements. You don’t put the weights down until all 40 reps are completed. Each move is done lying face down on an incline bench, keeping your feet on the floor for support. Only your arm position changes. Hold the position at the top of each move for one second before lowering and aim for a slow and steady tempo.
“Working your back through a range of mobility will develop lower trap and rhomboid strength,” says Causer. “It’s great for all those muscles that help with posture.”
YTWL part 1: Y
- Retract your shoulder blades but keep your neck neutral and hold the weights with a neutral grip (palms facing in).
- Keeping your arms straight, raise the weights diagonally out in front of you, as if making a ‘Y’ shape. Repeat for 10 reps.
YTWL part 2: T
- With arms straight down, hold the dumbbells with palms facing forwards.
- Bring your arms up until they are parallel with the floor, so your body makes a ‘T’ shape. Repeat for 10 reps.
YTWL part 3: W
- Hold the weights with a neutral grip and arms bent.
- Raise and twist your arms so, with your head, they form a ‘W’ shape. Repeat for 10 reps.
YTWL part 3: L
- With your upper arms pointing out and parallel with the floor, but your forearms pointing down, hold the weights with a neutral grip.
- Rotate your shoulders so your elbows stay in the same place and bring the weights up as far as you can, forming an ‘L’ shape with each arm. Repeat for 10 reps.
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Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.