T Nation

Internal Shoulder Rotation

Why do people emphasize the importance of external shoulder rotation for shoulder health and not internal rotation? Is it not normally best to work both directions of travel of a joint equally?

Well, Eric Cressey did mention internal rotations.
However, most people over-emphasize intarnal rotations already. Sitting at a desk, typing at a computer, your humerus is rotated internally. Doing benchpress, the same thing.

I’ve been told you shouldn’t ignore internal rotations, but you should do twice as much external rotations to compensate for the internally rotated world we live in.

the internal rotators are strong

the external rotators are weak

thus, from a volume balance stand point, performing equal reps at similar intensities of internal and external rotation movements will be too much internal rotation work

there are a bunch of “rules of thumb” … balance internal and external … do 2 times as much external as internal … look, simple being aware of what is going on is a huge first step

someone way smarter (and, btw, waaay fatter) than me that has trained numerous athletes made this most excellent point to me, and this is when it really stuck … never has he seen an injury from someone doing too much pulling and posterior chain work, from being “too strong” or “too developed” on the backside … there are screens and tests etc. … but, for starters, it is advised to always do at least as much pulling and external rotation (*not synonymous) as pushing and internal rotation …

*example: chins are a pull that internally rotate the shoulder … be careful

note: thanks to Alwyn Cosgrove (not the fat guy that i am talking about though) for furthering my understanding in this area

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The subscapularis is often overlooked as an internal rotator. This is the one you want to isolate when performing internal rotations.

I train it at half the volume of the external rotators but using 50% more of weight, as it it so much stronger.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Wreckless wrote:
The subscapularis is often overlooked as an internal rotator. This is the one you want to isolate when performing internal rotations.

I train it at half the volume of the external rotators but using 50% more of weight, as it it so much stronger.

Is it? Stronger, I mean. I have never heard this before. Please tell me what info you base this on.[/quote]

It just gets much more work naturally. Bench pressing, overhead pressing, chins, etc all work internal rotation, so it stands to reason that for balance one would have to increase the amount of external rotation.

Or you could just try it with cable internal and external rotations.

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This is from Alwyn Cosgrove’s newsletter. It’s free, so you should probably subscribe:
http://www.alwyncosgrove.com/FreeNewsletter.html

“Protraction to retraction strength should be a 1:1 ratio, so horizontal push (technically protraction) should equal horizontal pull (retraction)
Shoulder Abduction to adduction strength which is essentially the upward and downward scapular rotation (vertical push/pull) is about 0.85-0.95:1 or pretty much a 1:1 ratio.”

"Internal to external rotation is about 1:0.67 regardless of speed. I thought this was interesting because I remember Mel Siff talking about how just because this relationship was seemingly ideal at slow speed doesn’t make it ideal at all speeds. The only limitation is that they could only measure to 300 degrees/second and throwing speed (the fastest known human movement) is over 7,000 degrees/second. Because of this Kevin Wilk recommends training to achieve a 1:0.75 internal to external rotation relationship or in essence closer to 1:1.?

Also, look at this:
Shoulder articulations
http://www.exrx.net/Articulations/Shoulder.html#anchor105322

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Pecs and lats are internal rotators of the humerus and are big, powerful muscles that in a lot of people are short/tight and over-exercised. Conversely, the only true external rotators are the teres minor and infraspinatus which are relatively small, weak and underexercised, hence the recommendation to focus almost exclusively on external rotation exercises, couples with frequent pec/lat stretching.[/quote]

Hit it right on the head!

Thanks for the info guys.

Interesting thread.

What are some good exercises for external rotators that those without a gym membership can do at home?

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[quote]dancar wrote:
Interesting thread.

What are some good exercises for external rotators that those without a gym membership can do at home?

[/quote]

Cuban Press Variation: Elbows straight out to the sides, arms hanging down holding weights, rotate arms up and to the front.

Seated Dumbell Rotations: Sit on a flat surface with your knee up about shoulder height and your elbow on your knee. Hold a weight and lower it down toward your foot and then rotate back up to vertical.

Lying Dumbell Rotations: Lie on your side with your upper arm straight down the other side, lower and raise weight with elbow at 90 degree angle in front of you.

Keep the weight light and the reps high on these. Small dumbells are great but you can use canned goods, bottle of water, bag of rocks, etc.