Here’s something new!

I’m calling this “the not so sexy shit..” segment.

It’s all about some of the best, but lesser-known, exercises that most of us should be doing, but are not.

Today we’re going to address the Prone Y.

What does it do?

This exercise helps work the lower traps. The Trapezius muscle is a large upper back muscle.

Upper traps (orange) help you shrug your shoulders.

Middle Traps (red) help retract, or pull your shoulders back.

By Anatomography via Wikimedia Commons

The lower traps (purple) help upwardly rotate your shoulder blades when you reach overhead, and also posteriorly tilt or help your shoulder blades sit more closely to your rib cage.

That last little bit is what makes the Prone Y such a great exercise you’re not doing.

We tend to sit hunched over computers and phones these days, lending to shorter and tighter muscles on the front side of our body, while the muscles in our upper back suffers or become weak.

On top of our bad posture, we like to work the muscles we can see, like the chest and arms.

What ends up happening is n ugly trend: we sit too much hunched over; we train the chest muscles too much; the chest gets tight while the back gets weak; we sit hunched over; we train the chest muscles too much; the chest gets tighter and the back gets weaker..

Get it? What ends up happening is this:

Not too pretty is it?

Why is this exercise good?

The Prone Y strengthens these muscles in your upper back, helping you pull your shoulders back and stand up straighter. Don’t you remember your dad telling you to stand up straight?!

No more hunch-back of Notre Dame over here!

Another benefit: when these muscles get stronger, not only does your posture improve, but you’ll also help to loosen up (read: stretch) the muscles in your chest (pec major and minor). The stronger your Lower Trap, the more stretch you get in your pecs, and the better your posture becomes.

Wham Bam thank you ma’am.

How to do it:

Lie face down on an incline bench. Let your arm hang down towards the floor. With a straight arm, and using the muscles between your shoulder blades, pull your arm up into a “Y” position, getting a good hard squeeze with those muscles. Slowly return to start and repeat.

When you get really good at the basic bodyweight version, you can add *light* dumbbells to make it more challenging. Note: nobody cares what you can 1-arm Prone Y raise, so going heavy on these is just silly. Leave your ego at the door, or at least in the squat rack.

In your program:

Do 3-4 sets of 8-15 per arm. Have bad posture? Do it EVERY DAY.

This isn’t a super strenuous exercise, and thus there’s no reason why you can’t do these every day. Since it’s going to do you a huge favor for your posture, as well as overall shoulder health, it’s probably a good idea to do them alot.

When? Later in your workout, after all your mult-joint big lifts

Now get to it! Fix your bad posture with the One-arm Prone Y!

Andy Van Grinsven

About Andy Van Grinsven

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