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Prone W Raise Exercise 2023

The Prone W Raise is a resistance exercise that targets the shoulders’ muscles, particularly the rotator cuff, deltoids, and upper back muscles.

The w raises the fifth exercise for the Shoulder Stability Drills. This exercise helps improve shoulder stability, mobility, and strength, making it beneficial for those who engage in sports or activities requiring many overhead movements.

There are four more exercises in the shoulder stability drills:

Shoulder Stability Drill: W Raise Exercise 5

Prone W Raise
Prone W Raise Exercise

Here is the exercise as performed in a formation at a slow cadence


  • This exercise develops shoulder strength and stability.

Cadence: SLOW

Starting Position 

  • Prone position with the head slightly elevated and aligned with the spine.

Here’s the step-by-step process for the W-raise exercise:

Performing the W-Raise

  1. Begin by lying down in the prone position (face down).
  2. Position your arms on the ground at a 45-degree angle to your torso, and bend your elbows to 45 degrees. This forms a ‘W’ shape, hence the name.
  3. Keep your head slightly elevated, your feet together, and your toes pointing toward the rear.
  4. Extend and join your fingers and thumbs with your palms facing each other.


  1. On Count One: Lift both arms off the ground to a height of 3 to 6 inches. Be sure to keep your elbows bent during this movement. Maintain the initial position of your head.
  2. On Count Two: Lower your arms back to the starting position.
  3. On Count Three: Repeat the first count – raise your arms from the ground again.
  4. On Count Four: Return to the starting position.

Precaution: Keep the head slightly elevated throughout the exercise and do not jerk the body into the up positions on counts 1 and 3.

Check Points

  • At the starting position, tighten the abdominals to stabilize the trunk. The head is slightly elevated and aligned with the spine.
  • On counts 1 and 3, keep the back generally straight with the head up.
  • Throughout the exercise, the arms maintain a “W” and the trunk and legs should also be aligned.

How to Perform the W Raise Exercise with a Dumbbell

You can perform the W raise with a dumbbell while standing up; this increases resistance and works the muscles in the shoulders, particularly the rotator cuff and deltoids, as well as the upper back muscles.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do the W-raise:

  1. Start by standing or sitting upright with a dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms down and slightly forward with your palms facing towards you. This is the starting position.
  3. Keeping your arms slightly bent at the elbows, raise the dumbbells to shoulder height while retracting your shoulder blades. Your body should form the shape of a ‘W’ at this point.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.

Benefits of the W Raise Exercise

Below are the benefits of W raises;

Improved Posture

  • By targeting the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, the W raise exercise helps improve your posture. 
  • With regular practice, you’ll find that you can sit and stand up straighter, reducing pain and discomfort in your neck and shoulders.

Increased Shoulder Mobility

  • The W raise exercise also helps improve your shoulder mobility. 
  • This can be especially beneficial for athletes or anyone who performs activities that require a lot of overhead movement.

Strengthened Upper Back Muscles

  • The muscles in your upper back play an essential role in maintaining good posture and preventing injury. 
  • The W raise exercise helps strengthen these muscles, reducing your risk of injury and improving your overall physical performance.

Easy to Do Anywhere

  • One of the most significant benefits of the W raise exercise is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. 
  • You only need a little space and a few minutes of free time. 
  • Incorporating this exercise into your daily routine is a simple way to improve your overall health and well-being.

What are the muscles worked by the W Raise?

Muscle GroupW Raise exercise can engage all three parts, but especially targets the posterior and lateral deltoids.
DeltoidsThis exercise can engage all three parts, but especially targets the posterior and lateral deltoids
Rotator Cuff MusclesThis exercise is particularly beneficial for strengthening these muscles
TrapeziusEngaged during W Raises, helping to improve shoulder mobility and stability
RhomboidsWorked during the W Raise as they assist in the controlled movement of the shoulder blades
Upper Back MusclesWorked to a lesser extent during the W Raises

W Raises Workout Routine

The W raise exercise is easy to incorporate into your fitness routine. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Start with a Few Repetitions

  • If you’re new to the W raise exercise, start with a few repetitions and gradually increase over time.
  • Aim for 10–15 repetitions per set.

Add Weights

  • To increase the intensity of the exercise, try holding light weights in each hand while performing the W raise.

Regular Workout

  • Add the W-Raise exercise to your normal workout routine.
  • You can perform it as a warm-up exercise before your main workout or as a cool-down exercise after.

Take a Break from Your Workday

  • If you spend much time sitting at a desk, take a break every hour to do a quick set of W raises. 
  • This can help alleviate tension and reduce your risk of developing back pain.


The W raise exercise is a simple yet effective way to improve your posture, increase shoulder mobility, and strengthen your upper back muscles.

By adding this exercise into your daily routine, you’ll be on your way to better health and physical performance. 

Remember to start with a few repetitions and gradually increase over time, focusing on proper form and engaging your upper back muscles. Give it a try today and feel the difference!


George N.