In today’s edition of “Exercise of the Week,” we’re going to cover a simple, yet effective, rotator cuff exercise.
The external rotation on knee not only helps develop strength in the shoulder external rotators, but can also help you discern the difference between actual shoulder rotation and scapular motion.
Finally, training in the scapular plane just feels good to many who have a previous history of shoulder issues.
To begin, here’s the exercise:
Some key points with regards to execution:
- Use a slow, controlled tempo throughout. It doesn’t always have to be as slow as the video, but this isn’t an exercise where you want to use a lot of momentum and stretch-shortening reflex.
- Many will have a tendency to substitue scapular anterior tilt for shoulder internal rotation. To counteract this, place your non-working hand on your shoulder/scapula. When you are lowering the weight, make sure you’re only moving from your shoulder – not your shoulder blade! Your off-hand can help cue you until you become more aware.
- I typically use higher reps for these – the lowest I’ll go is generally sets of 8, but most of the time I’m working in the 8-15 rep range. Try using a 2-0-2 or 3-0-3 tempo to begin.
Once you’ve mastered the isolative stuff, feel free to progress to higher level (and more integrated) exercises such as PNF patterns and more “reflexive” ‘cuff work.
You’ve got to start somewhere, though, and this is a great exercise to develop some basic strength, stability and body awareness around the shoulder. Enjoy!