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Last week, we covered shoulder abduction which targeted the supraspinatus. This week, we will cover shoulder external (lateral) rotation and shoulder internal (medial) rotation. These two movements will activate the other 3 rotator cuff muscles: infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Again, the best exercise that will activate these muscles will be using cables or bands (see illustration A).
In order to effectively recruit the correct muscles, the targeted muscle fibers must be aligned against gravity. One of the more common mistakes at the gym, is the use of dumbbells while standing (see illustration B). Swinging dumbbells in this manner does NOT effectively work the rotator cuff muscles; in fact, you may notice a different type of sensation in the elbow and shoulder joints. If all you have is dumbbells, lay on your side (see illustration C) to properly align the muscle fibers against gravity.
After completing a set of lateral rotations for each shoulder, finish the workout by completing a set of internal rotations for each shoulder. Repeat 2 or 3 times.