Are your rotator cuff exercises working your rotator cuff?


Here’s a line from one of my more popular posts on the blog I kept to record my learning the first couple years in the fitness and sports training industry. The point I’m tying together with this post and the excerpt is the proper way to do the traditional rotator cuff exercises, and when you’ll know you’re doing it correctly and not-so-correctly.

Here’s the excerpt first:

“…I actually think rotator cuff exercises are one of the more abstract exercises to teach in that it isn’t about your arm moving a weight from point A to point B. Its about shoulder rotation, and everything from the elbow down (forearm and weight) ┬ámerely gets to go along for the ride. Unfortunately the former becomes the default plan of execution because the weight is in the hand, and based on our earliest exposures to strength training, we are taught to “lift the weight”.”

Think "rotate"

When doing rotator cuff external rotations — in whatever seated, lying, or standing position — you should feel the muscles get fatigued in the back just next to the armpit.

Focusing on “lifting the weight”? Common responses regarding feel are the shoulder muscles (rear or medial deltoids depending on position) or the biceps.

I tell my clients, “rotate your forearms up towards the ceiling”. Focus on upper arm rotation and the muscles you intend to train will be stressed more than those other larger, more dominant muscles.

These exercises are an effective part of an overall shoulder health program (not the WHOLE program), so keep doing them, just make sure you’re doing them right.

Remember, its about training hard and training smart.So until next time, Train Hard, Train Smart!