The “Y” as I call it, is an exercise primarily for your rear delts, or the posterior muscle of your shoulder. This is a small, nuanced movement, so you can even do it effectively without weight. In fact, I want you to master it without weight first, so read below how to do it well.
Holding the position also reinforces a healthy hinge, which is a crucial movement to master to prevent back pain.
How to do the “Y” for rear delts
Follow the instructions below, and start with no weight at first. Remember, if you can do this and recruit the muscles you are trying to feel, you’ll do better at it when you do introduce weight. Start with a set of 10 reps, then stand and assess where you feel it.
hinge at the hips with back neutral and straight
extend arms with palms facing behind you
bend at the elbows as if you are elbowing the ceiling
rotate your arms up into a “touchdown” position
extend your arms into a “Y shape
bend at the elbows, rotate arms, and straight elbows to return to the start position
How to do the “Y” with a Bench at the Gym
If you have a bench or would like to do this at the gym, you can follow the same directions. Watch the video below for a demo.