T Nation

How & When To Work Rotator Cuff

I remember reading or hearing somewhere (i think one of dave tate’s articles on deepsquatter) that by working your rotator cuff some people can improve their bench. I figure i might as well give it a try, but i have never done any rotator cuff exercises before. does anyone have any recommendations of what exercises to do, how many reps/sets, and on what day (back day, arm day?) that i should do them. Thanks for the help - Nic

If you don’t mind buying another book, the “Poliquin Principles” devotes an entire chapter to rotary cuff exercises. Another chapter also outlines a Jerry Telle shoulder workout which is also designed to work the rotary cuff.

search the T-Mag back issues for an article by Poliquin called (i think) “Achieving Structural Balance”. in it he talks briefly about external rotations and your bench.

i work the Rotators about 4 mornings per week, about 30mins after rising. I also do abs at this time. Total w/out is say 20mins to 30mins. I think it works well.JR.

Do your rotator cuff work before each upper body workout if you have been neglecting them. Perform one or two excersises for a couple of sets each. Generally, use moderately high reps and a slow smooth tempo ie. 2 sets of 10-12 @ 303 tempo would be suitable. You can use higher volume for your external rotators duringa hypertrophy/general strangth phase and lower the vloume during an intensification/maximal strength phase where loading is the main priority(ie. do AT LEAST one set on each side at the start of an upper body workout). One more thing; look at your program to see if it is balanced between horizontal pushing and pulling volume. If not, prioritize the horizontal pulling movements; for example a wide-grip seated cable row to the sternum (scapula retraction). This will help to balance out the development from bench pressing. Hope this helps somewhat. As for all the rotator cuff excercises, yes, there is a whole chapter in Poliquin Principles; check it out if you haven’t already. GET BUFFED! too of course by Ian King!

I don’t think “Get Buffed!,” although an excellent book, has any rotator cuff exercises. Ian Kings just recommends “stabilizer work” before a workout but does not go into any more detail because, according to him, those exercises are too hard to describe.

Do a search on T-mag or the web for the ‘Shoulder Horn’. This should help you with working the rotator cuff. I have been hitting the rotator cuff work a lot since having my shoulder surgery and finally my bench is starting to climb back up. Plus I have no pain in the shoulder girdle. Good luck. [NOTE FROM MODERATOR: READ THE LAST ‘STUFF WE LIKE’ COLUMN, TOO. THE SHOULDER HORN IS REVIEWED THERE.]

Pair external rotators with internal antagonists (Chestack), You will find your stronger from set to set while working them in. Check out charle’s structural balance. I gained fifty lbs on my incline after strengthening my rotator (35 lbs eight times)

Apologies to Roman for any confusion; I did not mean to imply that GET BUFFED! goes into depth on rotator cuff exercises, merely that it is an excellent book to read regardless along with POLIQUIN PRINCIPLES. Hope this clears it up.

well, i read get buffed a while back and just ordered poliquin’s book online. probably will take forever to get here though with christmas and everything. can’t wait to read it. i have a feeling my rotator cuffs are extremely weak because i never have been able to throw a football/baseball very far and never done any sports where i would use my rotator cuff. how long does it usually take to notice pretty good improvements for rotators. if i work them every other day would i be overtraining them. also should i concentrate more on external or internal rotaion if i’m looking to improve my bench. Thanks again for all of the replies. - Nic

Here is a link to a few exercises that I scanned in. As an ex baseball player I can tell you they are very valuable to do. The key is not to do to much weight, they recommended to us not to do over 5 lbs and never more than 2 sets of 12. Do them slow and they will burn the shit out of your cuff.