Looking to develop stronger shoulders? Many strength and conditioning professionals recommend performing the YTWL exercise. But since not all athletes know what it is or how it builds shoulder strength, STACK is here to break down the YTWL and explain how each “letter” exercise can benefit your shoulders.
Each letter represents a position your arms form with your body. At first, lie face down on a bench and use no weight. Advance to lying on a physioball holding very light dumbbells [two to five pounds].
In all of the positions, engage your core, pinch your shoulder blades together, and move your arms from the down position to as high as they can go without changing the angle of your torso. At the top of each movement, your thumbs should be pointing at the ceiling.
Raise your arms to a 45-degree angle with your body, forming a “Y.” Keep your body and arms straight, palms facing each other. This exercise targets the anterior [front] deltoids.
Extend your arms straight out to the side to form a “T.” This variation hits the trapezius, medial [middle] and posterior [rear] deltoids, balancing the anterior work from the “Y” movement.
Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and perform the same arm movement as you did for the “T.” This exercise specifically targets the posterior deltoids.
With your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, rotate your arms up until your forearms are perpendicular to the ground. You’re hitting the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids and the trapezius muscles—moving your shoulders through their full range of motion with resistance.
With each exercise, slowly rotate your arms back to starting position and repeat. Perform three sets of 10 reps of each movement.
The following video features Gatorade athlete and professional snowboarder Ellery Hollingsworth demonstrating the YTWL shoulder muscle-building circuit.