By Jeremie Hurd
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
I like to keep my workout moving. Like you, I don’t have much time so I don’t like to waste it. To help maximize my workout time, I have several exercises with cables that make my – and your – workout go faster.
The first of these cable exercises is an external and internal rotation. External and internal rotation exercises help strengthen the rotator ruff. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that attach to the arm and help rotate the arm at the shoulder joint. Think of pitchers as an extreme example or turning your steering wheel.
The exercises are typically done with a cable machine or a colored band. If you’re just starting, I recommend using one arm at a time. Once you have mastered the move, try doing them together. This is a huge time saving tip for me! You must be careful NOT to ever sacrifice your form though.
I usually use the Life Fitness multi jungle ( red #4and 6 in the DHAC fitness center). I stand in between the two where the pull up bar is and have the two adjustable cables set to elbow and equal height.
To do internal rotation, grab the right handle with my right hand and the left handle with my left and rotate towards the midline crossing my hand one over the other. For external rotation, grab the left handle with my right hand and right handle with the left so I have the handles and cables crisscrossed.
Because you are using both of your shoulders at the same time, it is very important to be conscious of using good form. When executing the movements, make sure you keep both elbows to your side when you are rotating. Also, make sure you have good shoulder posture: make sure your shoulders are pulled back, not slouched, with your back in neutral position, and knees slightly bent.
Your rotator cuff muscles are a small group of muscles that are in charge of big responsibilities. Don’t go too heavy and demand more than they are prepared to offer. Start light and progress from there. Rotator cuffs are relatively weak muscles, so you want to start out really light.
As always, prior to trying any new exercise, be sure you have the medical clearance to do so. If you ever need help with form or equipment set up, just let one of the Dedham Health exercise physiologists know and we’d be happy to help!