This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
You may not be able to see the backs of your shoulders when you look in the mirror, but that doesn't mean they don't need strengthening to balance out your shoulder development. Use a dual-cable machine to target your deltoids, focusing on the rear heads.
Shoulders (rear deltoids)
Stand facing away from a dual-cable machine, with single-hand attachments on each cable set at the lowest setting. (If you do not have access to a dual-cable machine, you can do this exercise using two dumbbells.) Grasp the handle of the left cable in your right hand, and the handle of the right cable in your left hand, so that the cables cross in front of you. With your feet hip distance apart, bend your knees slightly and press your hips back so that you can incline your chest forward while stabilizing through your center and legs. Your chest should be parallel to the floor, your arms extended downward with palms facing in towards each other (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, engage your core, and keep both arms straight as you bring them simultaneously up and out to the sides. At the top of your lift, your arms will be extended straight out to the side, slightly above the level of your upper back, with your palms facing the floor (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the top of the lift, reverse direction and allow your arms to return to the starting position following the same trajectory. Be sure to keep your shoulder blades retracted and do not allow your hands to cross at the bottom (see Photos 4 and 5).
If you are concerned about your back, you may want to try doing this exercise on a flat bench. Place a flat bench between the cable machines and lie face down on it with your legs to either side of the bench, knees bent, and feet on the floor behind you. Your chest should be flat on the bench. From this position, perform the raises as above.
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.