Starting Position: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a bench facing the backrest, which is angled at 45 to 60 degrees. Hold your torso against the backrest and keep your feet firmly placed on the floor. Allow your arms to hang toward the floor with your elbows slightly bent and palms facing each other. Brace your core and abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine.
Upward Phase: Exhale. Slowly raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides until your arms are almost level with the shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you reach the end position. In the raised position, the dumbbells should be aligned with, or slightly in front of your ears. Keep your torso firmly pressed into the backrest and do no allow the back to arch.
Downward Phase: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells in back to your starting position.
Technique is very important in this lift. If the dumbbells are raised to an end position behind the head rather than in line with the ears, the emphasis shifts off the shoulders and onto the latissimus dorsi (back).