T Nation

Rotator Cuff Exercises

What are all of you doing to keep the rotator cuffs strong and happy!

I like facepulls to keep healthy shoulders. Also the seated dumbell cleans aren’t bad either. Look them up on youtube on Defranco’s training stuff.

An old olympic power lifter showed me a good warm up. Start with some 5’s or 8 lb dumbbells in a locked out bench position. Slowly lower them towards your hips keeping your arms straight. From the hips do a half circle path until your arms are locked out like the top end of a shoulder press (still lying on back.)

Raise the dumbbells to the starting position and that’s one rep. I do about 8 reps in each direction. Works really well for me. Sorry for the lack of a good explanation.

Face pulls FTW.

i also do those YWTL thingies

Wall slides and same thing but in prone position…lying down on your belly,
Broomstick above your head and lower it behind your head with your elbows locked…and back,
And/or just lower it behind your neck.scapulas go down and closer to each other that way,
Cuban press.with rubber band or dumbbells.sometimes i go all the way up.it hits serratus too.

my favorite is standing with dumbbells.arms abducted.forearms and humerus in 90 degrees to each other.
externally rotate and go back slowly.use lighter weights and higher reps.

after that i just do lateral raises,front and chest supported.

in between sets…broomstick.

my shoulders feel just great after these routines. i do them 2 or 3x a week.

if you,however,are experinecing some discomfort in shoulders and neck perhaps,
go to a chiropractor.he solves that.

Its a great idea to make sure the main muscles responsible for upward rotation of the scapula are all in good, strong, working order.

So I do:

Serratus pushups for Serratus
Lower Trap exercises similar to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVIQW07eUiI
and Lying External rotations, far, far superior to band external rotations http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kGzXXj3tP4

Combining all these together you should feel the difference in overhead presses, as the upward rotation of the scapula really pulls the bar over your head.

Adding some cable internal rotations for teres major are excellent as well.

If all these exercises are going well, its hard to have shoulder problems.

If you feel you lack ROM in the shoulder it would be a good idea to get a few bouts of ART to work on the infraspinatus, teres, subscap, wherever you have a hangup.

I work with D1 athletes on a daily basis and these are some of the things that we use after their general warm-up and before their warm-up sets on the particular exercises they’re doing that day. They train the external rotators 2x per week.

Dynamic Blackburns are a great way to begin.

Standing 3-Way (essentially a front raise, followed by the same thing, but to 45 degrees instead of straight out in front, and then straight up to the sides. Your thumbs should be pointing straight towards the ceiling through each. Be sure to set you scapula down and back before you begin each. Complete all 3 and that is 1 rep)

Single Arm External Rotation (Be sure to set you scapula down and back before you begin each rep.)

Field Goals (Be sure to set you scapula down and back before you begin each rep.)

We also use:

Face Pulls
Muscle Snatch
End-Range Scapular Retraction
Push-Up Plus
Modified Empty Cans
Concentric/Eccentric External Rotation
Standing External Rotation w/ a band or cable

Dr. Leahy (the guy who patented ART) recommends “The Buchberger-12”, which is essentially a rotator cuff and scapular strengthening program). Shadowzz4 hit it right on the head when he advised going to an ART provider. If you combine a rotator cuff/scapular strengthening program with ART, you’ll be completely amazed at what it can do for you!

I should also note that the above is NOT the way that we implement external rotation exercises. I know it seems kind of trivial, but I did not design the program, so, I wouldn’t feel comfortable divulging that info.

Wow! Thanks for all the great info! Im sure alot of people on this forum can use this information.

can these be done with resistance tubes? due to shoulder injury dec 07. i’m fully recovered, but really
dont want to get hurt again. i’d start with those then transition into free weights. is this ok?

I do this warmup everyday I train

This video demonstrates a two minute shoulder warm-up that can be done:

  • prior to upper body training session
  • prior to lower body training session
  • after workout for maintenance, activation, rehab, preventative or re-stabilization efforts

Sequence of complex:
1A) DB Retractions
2A) YTWL - Y
3A) YTWL - T
4A) YTWL - W
5A) YTWL - L
6A) YTWL - L + External Rotations
7A) Scarecrows
8A) Skiers
9A) Posterior Flyes

I like to do cuban presses. You can do these with a barbell and they are great to superset with a traditional lying external rotation exercise. I would do this 2x a week, maybe 3 sets of each for anywhere from 12-15 reps.