T Nation

Internal Rotations?


I know that there is probably something about this in one of those articles in the archives, but from using the search option, I found very little. What kind of different internal rotations are there, and how do you perform them?

Thank you


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I think you mean 'external rotations'. There is no reason to do internal rotations as all pressing movements have this inherent.

External rotations are done to remedy the prevalance of internal rotations in most programs (because mostly they are bench, bench then bench some more with maybe shoulder press and then some bench)



While in the general sense what you're saying is correct, internal rotations can be useful in addressing shoulder instability in some people.



Myth #9: The secret to healthy shoulders is to have a big, strong chest, lats, delts, and "traps."

I've heard this one on several occasions, and it never ceases to crack me up. These larger muscles are usually the problems, not the solutions! When you hammer your pecs, lats, anterior delts, and upper traps mercilessly and ignore their antagonists (external rotators, horizontal abductors, scapular retractors, and scapular depressors), unfavorable postures and movement patterns develop.

Specifically, the humeri tend to assume an internally rotated resting position and the scapulae become elevated, winged and anteriorly tilted. These changes mechanically decrease the already-narrow subacromial space, increasing the likelihood that the tendons of the rotator cuff will become irritated when the arm is raised.

When the rotator cuff is strong, it serves to depress the humeral head in the glenoid fossa so that this impingement doesn't occur. If the SITS muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor) are weak relative to these larger muscles, the humeral head translates superiorly excessively;

the pain is most prominent in bench pressing and overhead movements. Summarily, the secret to healthy shoulders is to train the antagonists to the "big dogs" in order to foster appropriate strength ratios and maintain ideal resting posture.

End of quote.

The subscapularis is actually an internal rotator.

An example of an exercise:


I would think that this kind of instability would not be present in a weight training male such as the OP due to the incredibly high likelihood of them doing pressing movements.


To do internal rotation exercises or not to do IR exercises?

I've heard both points of view from sports medicine and kinesiologist types.

If you're pec heavy like me and suffering impingement, then ER exericses only is the way to go --- I've heard this from more people than not.

As someone pointed out, you get plenty of IR work from presses as wells as dips, pec deck, etc.

However, what you do want to do for your IRs, even before you undertake an ER regimen is stretch, stretch, stretch! The old doorway stretch is tried and true.

Stand just in front of (outside) a doorway. Start with your upper arms parallel to the floor and your palms and forearms on the door frame. Lean forward and stretch until you feel slight discomfort.

After a while, relax and move your hands up the doorway a bit. Stretch again. After a while, relax and move your hands up further.


I don't know the OP so I try not to assume too much, if you know him better then that's fair enough.

I do not know, for instance, why he would want to do internal rotations and as I also haven't assessed him in person I wouldn't know to tell him to do or to not do something.
As I mentioned before, your advice - for a painfree person - seems sound.

I do, however, have this kind of shoulder instability due to pressing movements - I stretched my left anterior GH joint capsule during handstand pushups a while ago (too much ego, too little sense).

While my internal rotators were still strong and I could still do some pressing movments (while working around others) and yet this did very little to help my shoulder problem (strength is not the only factor involved) - specific exercises like internal rotations (under the guidance of a professional) did.