Y Raises Muscles Worked

Y Raises Muscles Worked

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Y raises are a popular exercise that targets the muscles in the shoulders and upper back. By performing this exercise correctly, you can strengthen and tone these areas, improving your overall upper body strength and posture. 

Y raises target the medial head of the deltoid, the lower trapezius, and the teres minor. You can perform this exercise on a swiss ball.

The Y raise is performed by standing with your legs shoulder width apart, leaning slightly forward as you raise the weights. Then, as you lower the weights, rotate your shoulders to the side.

Read on to learn more about the specific muscles worked during Y raises and how to properly execute this exercise.

What are Y raises?

Y raises are a type of exercise that specifically targets the muscles in the shoulders and upper back.

This exercise involves lifting your arms out to the sides in a Y shape, with your palms facing down.

As you raise your arms, you engage the deltoid muscles in your shoulders, particularly the anterior deltoids.

Additionally, the muscles in your upper back, such as the trapezius and rhomboids, are also activated during Y raises.

This exercise is great for improving shoulder stability, posture, and overall upper body strength.

How to perform Y raises correctly

To perform Y raises correctly, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging down by your sides.

Keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the exercise. Begin by slowly lifting your arms out to the sides and up, forming a Y shape with your body. Keep your palms facing down and your elbows slightly bent.

As you raise your arms, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and engaging the muscles in your upper back.

Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. It's important to maintain control and avoid using momentum to lift your arms.

By performing Y raises correctly, you can effectively target and strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back.

Benefits of incorporating Y raises into your workout routine

Incorporating Y raises into your workout routine offers a range of benefits for your shoulders and upper back.

Firstly, this exercise targets the deltoids, helping to strengthen and tone these muscles. Strong deltoids not only improve the appearance of your shoulders but also enhance shoulder stability and mobility.

Additionally, Y raises engage the trapezius muscles, which are responsible for pulling the shoulder blades together.

Strengthening the trapezius muscles can improve posture and reduce the risk of shoulder and neck pain.

Lastly, Y raises activate the rhomboids, which play a crucial role in maintaining proper shoulder alignment and stability.

By incorporating Y raises into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen these muscle groups, leading to improved shoulder strength, stability, and overall upper back strength.

Muscles targeted during Y raises

Y raises primarily target the muscles in the shoulders and upper back.

The main muscles engaged during this exercise include the deltoids, which are responsible for raising the arms out to the sides, and the trapezius, which helps to squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Additionally, the rhomboids, located between the shoulder blades, are also activated during Y raises.

These muscles work together to improve shoulder stability and posture, as well as strengthen the upper back.

Incorporating Y raises into your workout routine can help to tone and strengthen these muscle groups.

Y raises target the medial head of the deltoid

A lateral raise targets the deltoids, the muscles at the front of the upper arm that provide stability and motion.

Deltoid muscles are composed of three separate heads, each with different fibers running in different directions. By working all three heads at once, you'll effectively work all the muscles in the deltoid.

When working out your deltoid, you should choose exercises according to your current development level.

If you're looking to build bigger shoulders, you'll need to train the medial head more than the posterior head.

The medial head of the deltoid provides your shoulders with width and is especially important if you're trying to develop a muscular upper chest.

Although the medial head of the deltoid is the least studied area, this part is responsible for a variety of important deltoid functions, including stabilizing the glenohumeral joint.

The Y raise is commonly associated with a back workout, but it works the entire deltoid, including the middle and upper traps.

It is also an effective muscle builder. To do the Y Raise, you need a bench with an incline of 30 degrees.

Then, lie face-forward on the bench. Then, squeeze the shoulder blades together and raise your arms up to a 45-degree angle with your torso. Hold this position for six seconds.

Incline Y raise targets the lower trapezius

The Y raise is one of the most effective exercises for the lower traps. This muscle runs from the base of the neck to the mid-back.

These muscles are a crucial part of the upper and lower body and they are responsible for keeping the head upright.

This exercise helps strengthen these muscles and correct improper movement patterns that may lead to neck and shoulder pain.

In this exercise, you must contract the muscles of your upper back while keeping your core engaged.

You may also want to raise your elbows to target your upper back muscles. This exercise is crucial for strengthening the lower traps, which play a vital role in proper movement and overall health.

The key to performing this exercise correctly is to hold a peak contraction and keep your core engaged. The lower traps are essential for proper movement and are often overlooked by many people.

Another exercise that targets the lower traps is the dumbbell raise. This exercise is particularly tough on the lower traps as it causes a significant amount of scapular depression.

Performing this exercise requires that you lie in a prone position, lift your arms high, and slowly lower them back. Once you've reached the top, hold them there for a few seconds before lowering them again.

The trapezius is a broad muscle that covers a majority of the upper back. It is composed of three sets of fibers, with the lower trapezius playing an important role in stabilizing the scapulae and keeping the shoulder blades down.

If this muscle is weak, it increases the risk of shoulder pain and injury. It can also lead to rotator cuff impingement, which can take months to recover from.

Y raises target the rhomboids

Rhomboids, located between your shoulder blades, help pull them back together (scapular retraction). A strong pair of rhomboids promote better posture and shoulder health while decreasing injury risks.

While most people realize the significance of training their shoulder blades effectively, many don't do it effectively enough.

Many overtrain trapezius muscles - which consist of three sections called heads--and fail to train rhomboids sufficiently.

Also, pulling exercises may leave their deltoids untrained while leaving your rhomboids untrained.

There are various bodyweight exercises you can perform at home to strengthen your rhomboids and promote overall shoulder health, such as face pulls, prone Y raises and rear delt flyes. All can be completed easily using dumbbells and resistance bands.

To achieve maximum range of motion and develop an excellent mind-muscle connection, focus on keeping each exercise light. Also make sure to squeeze your rhomboids when performing scapular retraction and downward rotation during peak contraction to further engage them.

Add bodyweight rhomboid exercises into your back workout or as part of an upper-body circuit for best results. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps using an effective body position so as to maintain control during each movement and minimize shoulder movements too much.

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Performing Y raises on a swiss ball

Performing Y raises on a stability ball works the upper back and shoulder muscles, while also promoting core stabilization.

To perform this exercise, lie face-down on the ball and bend your knees slightly. Raise your arms in a Y shape and return to the starting position. Repeat as many times as desired.

The Y raise targets the upper back and shoulders, as well as the shoulder and traps.

As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise. 

Performing Y raises on a stability ball can help you build your abdominal muscles, as well as tone your lower back.

When performing this exercise, be sure to stay balanced and maintain your body in a flat position. As you work your way up, gradually increase the difficulty by adding lighter weights.

Performing Y raises on a bench

Performing Y raises on a incline bench is a great way to strengthen the upper back and shoulder muscles.

By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your push-up depth, and level up to harder exercises. This exercise also works the lower traps and improves posture.

The cable Y raise is a good exercise for developing the shoulders and trapezius muscle. While the cable Y raise is ideal for strength training, it is not appropriate for everyone.

Performing Y raises on a incline bench requires you to maintain proper body position while performing the exercise.

When performed properly, Y raises help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder blade.

These muscles help prevent injuries and improve shoulder stability. As a result, the exercise promotes healthy breathing patterns. This exercise also improves shoulder mobility.

In addition, it is beneficial for the shoulder and hip flexors, and will also help you to develop your scapular stability.

You can also use a dumbbell for this exercise if you want. It is recommended that you use moderate weights for this exercise, since the use of heavy dumbbells can lead to shoulder injury.

Tips for maximizing the effectiveness of Y raises

To maximize the effectiveness of Y raises, it's important to focus on proper form and technique.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Keep your arms straight and extended in front of you, forming a Y shape with your body. As you raise your arms out to the sides, make sure to engage your shoulder muscles and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Avoid using momentum or swinging your arms to lift the weights. Instead, focus on controlled movements and a slow and steady pace.

Additionally, it's important to choose an appropriate weight that challenges your muscles without compromising your form.

Gradually increase the weight as you become stronger and more comfortable with the exercise.

Remember to breathe throughout the movement and listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and consult with a fitness professional.

By following these tips, you can maximize the effectiveness of Y raises and achieve optimal results for your shoulders and upper back.

Conclusion - Y Raises Muscles Worked

The Y raise is an upper-body exercise designed to strengthen shoulders and upper back muscles.

You can perform it standing with a hip hinge or sitting down, both techniques of which minimize momentum while increasing tension on shoulder muscles.

Furthermore, it can be combined with the incline dumbbell Y raise to target rear deltoids and traps more directly.

No matter whether using body weight or added resistance, the Y raise is an effective shoulder and chest-targeting movement to improve posture and strengthen shoulders and upper back.

Performing the Y raise as part of your upper-body workout or add it to triceps and biceps exercises will strengthen both triceps and biceps workouts.

Furthermore, adding this movement can also help stabilize core stability during deadlift or squat exercises.

This exercise targets your deltoids, traps and rhomboids simultaneously. Your deltoids are one of the largest muscles in your shoulders; cable Y raises provide an efficient exercise targeting all three deltoid heads (anterior, lateral and posterior).

Rhomboids are another muscle found within your shoulders that work to pull back together your shoulders with their middle and lower traps.

The Y raise is an effective trap-targeting movement and should be combined with face pull training sessions to maximize delt/trap training session effectiveness.

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