Shape Up Your Shoulders

By Tu, Jeni | Dance Teacher, June 2003 | Go to article overview

Shape Up Your Shoulders


Tu, Jeni, Dance Teacher


Focus On...Shoulders

Three easy exercises for better and stronger port de bras and partnering

According to Shaw Bronner, head of therapy services at Alvin Alley, dancers often try to initiate arm movements from the shoulder. What they may not realize is that including the scapula-stabilizing muscles of the back in movements like port de bras and lifts can actually keep shoulders from getting injured.

DT presents three simple shoulder-strengthening exercises that will help engage your spine in shoulder and arm movements. "You'll have greater strength and less fatigue," Bronner assures.

1 lie stomach-down on an exercise ball, with your legs extended straight to the back and the balls of your feet resting gently on the ground. (If you don't have a ball, you can try this lying stomach-down on a bench. Or do it one arm at a time while lying on the edge of a bed or table.)

Holding a dumbbell or can (no heavier than 1-5 pounds) in each hand, let your arms rest slightly in front of the ball. (You can also hold nothing and simply work with the weight of your own arms.) Now, lift your head so that it is in line with your back; your spine should be straight.

2 Without locking your elbows, slowly lift your arms to the height of your back (thumbs should be pointing up). Then lower your arms, keeping your back flat. Repeat a total of 10 times.

1 Lie stomach-down on a ball or bench, your arms hanging straight down by your sides. Hold a dumbbell or can in each hand with your palms facing each other. Lift your head so that it is in line with your back.

2 With your palms facing down, lift your arms shoulder height, then lower them. Remember to keep your back flat. Repeat a total of 10 times.

[Sidebar]

THE DOORKNOB SWING

Target Areas: middle and lower trapezius (between shoulders and neck), rhomboids (middle of back), lats (outer back)

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