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Reverse Dumbbell Curls to Strength Shoulders/Rotator Cuff?


Tore my rotator cuff years ago, had surgery, but it’s never been 100%. Have to bench with a relatively narrow grip, elbows in, instead of flayed out.

Was doing seated dumbbell presses, put my elbows out with light weight, really felt weird, unstable in my shoulder joint. So my shoulder isn’t quite right or maybe it’s just weak.

Anyway, I’ve done some standard rotator cuff exercises, but not sure they work that well.

It FEELS like reverse dumbbell curls with light weights (20 lbs each hand) hit my shoulder (lateral delt mostly) well and don’t stress the rotator cuff. Maybe even strengthen it. But I don’t want to do something and then have it come back that I screwed up my cuff even worse.

What do you think? Any advice?


Well if you feel that reverse curls are working your delts and RC, it’s that you aren’t doing them properly. But I know what you mean… the technique you are talking about… very common form for people with tight internal rotators and weak external ones… When my internal rotators were too tight I stopped doing DB reverse curls for that reason: they looked more like a combo of DB external rotations and reverse curl, so I switched to reverse curls with an EZ bar.

Anyway, if you want to do that exercise because you feel that it helps, fine.


Thank you so much for the reply.

When I do them, I’m not really looking to do them for biceps, I rotate my shoulders back while lifting the weight. At the top, I have my back arched and my chest up. It feels like it’s hitting side/rear delt.

Not sure which of my rotators internal/external is tight, if any, it’s hard to know.

It’s difficult for me to do much shoulders in general as I’m always worried about the rotator cuff and I think I’m weaker because of it in other lifts.