Rotator Cuff Exercises

 Subscribe in a reader


Rotator cuff exercises are essential shoulder exercises for staying healthy and building muscle.



I have played football and baseball for most of my life, competing at the Division I level in baseball, and the Division I-AA level in football. As you read this article, you can trust and believe that I know what it feels like to have shoulder injuries, and how debilitating that can be.

The most commonly injured part of the shoulder is the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and the associated tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint, serving to hold your upper arm into the shoulder socket and to assist in rotation of the shoulder joint. It is fairly easy to see why having a strong rotator cuff is essential to not only athletic performance such as tennis or baseball, but also to building muscle.



Over the years, I have learned one thing about shoulder injuries: it is best to avoid them. After all, I could not play football or baseball while my shoulder was out of commission, much less do shoulder exercises to build muscle.

So what is the easiest way to avoid shoulder injuries?

Simple:

rotator cuff exercises.

There are four primary rotator cuff muscles:

  • supraspinatus; top of the shoulder, moves arm up and away from body
  • subscapularis; front of shoulder, rotates arm inward
  • infraspinatus and teres minor; rear of shoulder, rotates arm outward.

Each of these muscles can be strengthened using shoulder exercises.

The supraspinatus rotator cuff muscle (rotates arm inward) is the most often injured rotator cuff muscles because it is often squeezed during overhead motions like throwing a ball, or during a serve in tennis.

As you can imagine, rotator cuff strengthening usually involves rotator cuff exercises generally involve some sort of rotation during the shoulder exercise.

The primary equipment you will need for your rotator cuff exercises include resistance bands and dumbbells.

Internal Rotation with Dumbbells

Rotator Cuff Exercises: Internal Rotation with Dumbbells
Internal Rotation with Dumbbells
Figure 1

  1. Begin by lying on your side on a bench.
  2. Hold the dumbbell in the hand that is on the same side you are lying on (see figure 1), with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your elbow tucked into your body throughout this shoulder exercise.
  3. Slowly rotate your arm upward and lift the dumbbell upward and toward body .
  4. Pause for a count and then slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Complete the required number of reps, and then switch sides and repeat this rotator cuff strengthening exercise.

External Rotation with Dumbbells

Rotator Cuff Exercises: External Rotation with Dumbbells
External Rotation with Dumbbells
Figure 2

  1. Start this shoulder exercise by lying horizontally on your side on a bench.
  2. Hold the dumbbell in the hand that is on top of your body (see figure 2), with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your elbow tucked into your body.
  3. In a slow, controlled, smooth motion, rotate your arm outward and lift the dumbbell until the back of your hand is facing behind you.
  4. After pausing for a count, return the dumbbell to the starting position of this rotator cuff strengthening exercise.
  5. Switch sides and repeat after completing the prescribed number of reps.




Leave Rotator Cuff Exercises and Return Home

New! Comments