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Do you have pain in your shoulder? 

You may be missing proper activation in the rotator cuff.  Here are 6 reasons why rotator cuff exercises should be in your program: 

  • The muscles of the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) together function to help keep the upper arm in it’s socket
  • If you are doing any overhead exercises (ie. pullups, military press, grabbing cereal from the top cabinet), then a stable shoulder joint with good range of motion will decrease the chances of injury during these movements
  • Working on externally rotating the upper arm on the shoulder (activating infraspinatus and teres minor), will assist in finding better posture when at rest and especially in the gym
  • The muscles work to help balance the action of the deltoids. This keeps the upper arm stable in the joint when elevating your arm (think lateral raises or bottoms up carries)
  • In exercises like regular grip conventional deadlifts, bench press, and pull ups, our arms start in internal rotation (think shoulders round in towards the middle of your body). By having external rotation, we can work to balance the shoulders when doing these movements
  • In exercises like back squats, chin ups, and mixed grip deadlifts, our shoulders are externally rotated (think shoulders open up away from the body).  If we have the right muscles activating in shoulder external rotation, we will not compensate for the posture in these exercises. The movement will feel more stable, smooth and work the intended muscles

You can include shoulder external rotation exercises in your warm up. I like to use cables when available. Just make sure your shoulder blade is stable during the exercise to allow the upper arm to rotate outward. These can be done in any workout where you are using your shoulders.  

Stay tuned for my next blog post with exercises to help you find healthy shoulders!

Happy lifting,

Carolyn

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