This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Bean, former professional athlete and author of "Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball." Do you have a question for Billy's "Ask Billy Bean" column for RealJock.com? Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use light weights to warm up and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder complex.
Stand upright facing a mirror with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells in your hands with your thumbs facing down toward the floor. Engage your core and retract your shoulder blades (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slowly raise the weights up in front of you at a 45-degree angle to your body until your hands are at shoulder level. Keep your elbows straight as you lift. Though you are lifting from the shoulders, you don’t want to raise your shoulders toward your ears; think instead of feeling your hands rising away from your body (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the top of the lift, reverse direction and slowly return the weights back to starting position (see Photo 4).