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Strengthening Rotator Cuff Without Isolation?


Are there any "big lift" exercises that help strengthen your rotator cuff without resorting to those rehab/prehab isolation movements?



overhead squats


does the hand spacing matter when it comes to doing overhead squat to strengthen the rotator cuffs? Should I grab the bar wide or should it be narrow?






I use the same hand spacing as when I do snatches. From a top deadlift position with legs slightly unlocked, move grip out until bar is about an inch below the crease where the thigh meets the hip.


overhead presses

snatch and its variants

overhead squat

waterburys figure 8 things

cuban press

a lot of gymnastics moves

there are some PNF movements too which are hard to explain they are 'big' movmements but you cant use much load and are kinda esoteric


Turkish Get ups, either full range or half range work great. So do windmills w/ a DB.


upright rows
behind the neck presses with scapula protracted
ultra wide grip ballistic bench press
cheat curls

dont listen to me


Barbell row - stay strict.


wanking lol

side laterals front and rear
all compound movements do but id stick to the rotator cuff isolation exercises i think they would work best for the cuffs.

but who am i to give advice.


You make it sound like it's a pain in the ass or embarrassing to do those exercises. Just throw in some high rep external rotation movements when you won't be lifting the next day.


Exercises like benches, rows, chins and pulldowns will strengthen your internal rotators but not your external rotators. Your goal should be to increase the strength of your external rotators and increase the flexibility of your internal rotators for healthy shoulders.


About a month ago, I injured my shoulder playing college football. While making a tackle, my arms were extended and weight fell on top of my arms. Apparently, I have torn my labrum and was told by the trainers not to lift. I have lost weight due to this lack of lifting. Are there any exercises recommended in order to keep up size and strength, that will not aggrivate the bad shoulder pain? Obviously, I have continued to lift legs, but as far as upper body even curls cause extreme pain. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I know injuries suck and it can be difficult watching your development/strength gains decrease. When you say trainers, do you mean athletic trainers (ATC)? If so, I would consider following their recommendation. Is it worth aggravating the injury site and having to deal with a lifelong problem? Or is it better to bite the bullet and make sure you are completely healthy so you can lift the rest of your life? You will be able to quickly regain what you lost during your recovery when the time comes.

What I would do is try to maintain as much as a range of motion as possible. Can you do upperbody movements without any additional weight, and not have pain? If so, continue doing this so that way when you start lifting regularly again you won't have to deal with flexibility problems on top of getting your strength back.

Good luck man.


Wearing ottomix shoes and a weight belt at all times is also good for your rotator cuffs.


I like the ultra wide grip ballistic bench press! Builds the "outer" chest! haahhahaahhaa


Do you want "big lifts" or do you want to target the intended muscle group? These might seem like sissy movements, but only because the amount of weight you can move makes you feel weak: