A y-press is a resistance training exercise that primarily trains the deltoid muscles of the shoulders. It is typically done with dumbbells, but is also possible with resistance bands. Sometimes, fitness trainers recommend the y-press over traditional shoulder presses for clients with shoulder pain or injuries, but for most people it is simply part of a workout routine that includes other shoulder exercises as well.
To perform the y-press, either sit with the back straight or stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take one dumbbell in each hand and raise them to shoulder level, with elbows bent and palms facing forward similar to most shoulder press exercises. Instead of lifting straight up, push the arms up and out slightly to the sides to create a "Y" shape in the air, using the core muscles to stabilize the movement and prevent wobbling in the torso. Lower the arms and bring them back in to the starting position to complete one repetition. In general, it is a less awkward movement to perform this exercise with dumbbells rather than resistance training bands, although people who work out at home and do not have access to dumbbells may certainly use bands as a substitute.
Occasionally, this exercise is described as having more of a "W" shape than a "Y" shape. This is because the head pokes up in between the arms and makes some people think more of a "W" than a "Y." Remember, however, that regardless of how the exercise is described, it is the same exercise and should be performed the same way.
Due to the position of the arms during this exercise, it is usually necessary to lift with lighter weights than for a regular shoulder press. Most traditional weight training routines start off with compound exercises that allow the exerciser to lift heavier weights with large muscle groups and work down to exercises with lighter weights that isolate smaller muscles and muscle groups. Since the y-press focuses mainly on the shoulder muscles and requires a lighter weight, most people place it near the end of a workout, after the heavier shoulder and upper body work has already been completed. This setup ensures that the large muscle groups are not already fatigued when they are being worked, which allows for a larger amount of weight to be lifted, resulting in more calories burned and more strength and muscle size gained.