The prone row to external rotation is a simple, yet effective exercise for improving scapular stability and external rotator strength at the shoulder. At IFAST, we often use these in the early stages of training to improve motor control. Once motor control is improved, all the “big-bang” exercies like dumbbell rows, chest supported rows, PNF exercises, etc., immediatey have a greater impact.
Lay face down on an incline bench, with the arms hanging down from the torso. I will often cue people to allow their scapulae to protract; not only does this increase the range of motion, but it also allows a bit of pre-stretch on the rhomboids and middle trapezius.
There are essentially four steps to this exercise:
1 – Initial row/scapular retraction
2 – External rotation of the shoulder
3 – Internal rotation of the shoulder
4 – Return to starting position
I really like this exercise because not only does it improve motor control through the mid-back, but it teaches people to externally rotate on top of a stable scapulae. This is often something that many beginners have issues with.
Good luck and good training!