The Powell Raise from the floor is a great exercise for strengthening the rhomboids (major and minor) and improving scapular (shoulder blade) stability. Strong rhomboids provide a stable “platform” to press from and the also initiate the pull in row and chin-up exercises. Weak rhomboids, along with inadequate strength in the rotator cuff and trapezius muscles, can lead to altered shoulder function and poor shoulder stability.

Proper set up is the most important part of this exercise. This exercise is not really a strength movement; it is a corrective exercise designed to strengthen the rhomboids and improve scapular stability, which is critical to long-term progress in pressing and pulling exercises. As scapular (and shoulder) stability is developed, we then progress our athletes to more traditional strength movements.

The key things to be aware of when performing this movement are:

1) Lay on your side with your shoulders and hips “stacked”

2) The none-working arm is folded up and placed under your head to help keep the neck in a neutral position

3) Bend the knees at 90º and shift them forward to provide a solid base of support

4) Grab the dumbbell keeping a slight bend in the elbow and retract the scapula (shoulder blade) of the working arm

5) Raise the arm in a smooth consistent motion keeping the dumbbell in front of your face throughout the entire range of motion

5) Stop the movement when the arm is perpendicular to the floor

6) Lower the dumbbell, while keeping it in line with your face, stopping the movement just above the floor

Choose a weight that will enable you to perform the prescribed number of reps; you don’t want a weight that is too light or too heavy. As a rule of thumb with our corrective and remedial exercises, if you can’t perform the exercise while maintaining good form, then the weight is probably too heavy for you.

Challenge yourself, but always maintain good technique and good form. Please contact us if you have any questions about this exercise or anything we can assist with to make you a better performing athlete. Until next time, stay strong.

– Chris

Powell Raise