- Stand with the feet shoulder width apart or less and grasp the dumbbells with an overhand grip. The dumbbells may rest on the thighs but they should be relatively in-line with each respective shoulder.
- Either perform one arm at a time (all the repetitions straight through for one set) or alternate sides for this exercise. It is uncommon to raise both dumbbells at the same time, though it may be performed in that manner.
- Raise the arm to horizontal (or slightly above), exhaling throughout the movement.
- Lower the arm to the starting position (to the thigh), inhaling throughout the movement. For an additional challenge, when in the lowered position do not allow the dumbbell to rest on the thigh, instead keep the dumbbell slightly in front of it (an inch or so).
- Repeat steps 3-4 for as many repetitions as are desired either alternating arms between each repetition or exercising each shoulder individually. (Sets should generally fall between 3 to 6 with 6-12 repetitions.)
As the arm is raised above horizontal the trapezius becomes more involved in the lift. Note that any action that raises the arms will, to a lesser degree, involved muscles like the rhomboids and serratus anterior, for they act to secure the scapula to the rib cage.