Today’s blog is about one mistake 9.9/10 people make with any form of training in the gym.
It’s rotator cuff exercise.
When you’re smashing your shoulders and your chest in the gym, your rotator cuffs get absolutely pumped as well. too many people neglect their rotator cuffs hence they never give them a shot at developing any real strength.
Rotator cuff exercises are boring, monotonous and don’t build a massive muscle or burn fat… however if you fail to strengthen them and don’t place a big emphasis on them then you will struggle to do either of those things anyways.
What’s the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff is made up of a group of tendons and muscles which connect your arm to your shoulder blade (Scapula). There are four small muscles that form your rotator cuff the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the subscapularis and the teres minor.
These are the muscles that enable your arm to move around in circles, move closer to the body, as well as away from the body. They also help you to maintain good posture by keeping your shoulder girdle back and in the proper position (Sub scapula retraction).
Most peoples rotator cuff muscles are weak, which increases the risk of shoulder injuries especially when training hard in the gym!
Main rotator cuff injuries:
Rotator cuff impingement: tendons that connect the rotator cuff muscles are pinching between two bones.
Rotator cuff tear: age or overuse causes the rotator cuff tendon to weaken eventually leading to a tear.
Rotator cuff tendonitis: generally caused from continual lifting overhead, this is one of the most common overuse injuries. It’s a harassing injury, and full recovery can be quite difficult.
Subacromial bursitis: Caused when the bursa (small sac of fluid) that protects the rotator cuff tendons from the bones that surround them becomes inflamed.
Top 3 Rotator-Cuff-Building Exercises
The following exercises can lower your risk for these injuries. Make them a part of your shoulder warmup for upper-body workouts, and set aside time each week to do them on their own.
Internal & External Rotations
Internal and external rotations are best to be done with a thera band or light resistance band.
For external rotation, hold the band in one hand, tuck your elbow directly into the side of your body with your hand straight out in front of you with your forearm parallel to the ground. Keep your elbow glued to the side of your body, rotate the weight straight out to the side away from your body, then slowly release back to the starting position this is one rep. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each arm.
Internal Rotation, hold the band the same way, but this time rotate it across the front of your body instead of out away from it. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each arm.
Scapular Plane Elevation
“Scapular plane” is the name of the normal resting position of the shoulder blade (scapula) at 30-45 degrees from your midline.
To perform a scapular plane elevation, lie down on you front on a bench, holding a light-weight dumbbell in one hand down by your side. Lift that arm up and away from your body at roughly a 30-45 degrees, along the scapular plane. Lift until your arm is parallel to the floor, keeping your thumb facing up as you raise your arm.
Once your arm is parallel to the floor, hold it and squeeze for 1 second, then slowly lower it back down to your side to complete the rep.
After you’ve developed a good feel for the movement pattern, perform it using both arms at once.
Shoulder Flexion and Extension
With the band in one hand lower your straightened arm down towards your thigh. Then pull up towards the roof. Key to this exercise is to keep your scapula retracted (pulled back) at all times. this is the proprioception your shoulder needs in order to strengthen and stables the shoulder.
Always Warm Up!
As well as doing these exercises, always take time before you start lifting to warm up your shoulders with plenty of arm circles and cross-body swings. This will help reduce the risk of shoulder injuries and tightness as you progress up in weight.
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