Your Missing Rotator Cuff

Rotator what? If you’re a smart exerciser, or have a well experienced trainer, you should know what rotator cuff muscles are. In fact, you should be incorporating exercises that directly strengthen them. What are they anyway? They’re a group of 4 smaller muscles consisting of

1) infraspinatus  2) supraspinatus  3) subscapularis  4) teres minor …and probably the most neglected muscles responsible for shoulders stabilization during any compound exercises or those that involve the arm movement. If you don’t pay attention to these muscles, chances are you’re going to risk muscular imbalances, injure yourself or complain shoulder pain when lifting heavier. The majority of people suffer from shoulder injuries (rotator cuff tear) and shoulder pain (impingement) is because these muscles are not strengthened effectively.

Weak muscles —-> poor stabilization —-> tendon and surrounding tissues break down —-> inflammation —-> more damage —-> impingement or tear

If you’re currently not experiencing any shoulder injury or pain, good for you. It’s time to prevent future problems or perhaps break through your plateau for certain exercises like bench press, start working on your rotator cuff muscles.

Here are some great exercises to directly hit, train & strengthen the rotator cuffs.

Standing Internal Rotation


Standing External Rotation

Standing dumbbell external rotation (variation)

Basic rotator cuff strengthening routine:

Warm up with basic stretches – bend your elbows 90 degrees and lean forward against door

straight arm alternative swings (with palm rotation)

1) Cable / resistance band Internal rotation :   2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

2) Cable / resistance band External rotation :   2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

3) Dumbbell External Rotation (90 degree) :    2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

IMPORTANT POINTS:  – You don’t need to go heavy, these any really small muscles

– Focus on form & movement

– Perform routine twice a week

– If incorporating into existing workouts, start with them first