Rotator cuff health.

Updated: Jun 30, 2019

What are the rotator cuff muscles?


This holds your humerus in place and keeps your upper arm stable.


This is the main muscle that lets you rotate and extend your shoulder.


This is the smallest of the rotator cuff muscles


This sits on the shoulder blade

Anatomy of shoulder

The rotator cuff muscles are placed at the joint of the shoulder and are there to support the complex socket which attaches the arm to the trunk of the body. These muscles are small but extremely important in stabilising the glenoid cavity.

When you think of shoulders, you think of deltoids, or delts. Bodybuilders train deltoids for size, width and an overall rounding off at the top of the arm. All too often the rotator cuff muscles are neglected with too much emphasis, and weight, focused on the exterior delts and this is where, most often, injury occurs.

Rotator cuff muscle health is easily achieved with consistency and a little patience, and the rewards are more than worth the time you put in. Below are a few rotator muscle exercises for you to try and help build your shoulder strength and mobility.


External rotation with dumbbell

With a light weight, stand with your palms facing the ceiling, holding the dumbbell with arms at a 90 degree angle, horizontal to the floor.

Slowly begin to rotate your arm outwards, still at 90 degrees, until you naturally can’t go any further.

Slowly bring the arm back to the start position and repeat until the core of your shoulder becomes tired.


With a light weight selected on the cable, position yourself side on the the cable handle.

Select the cable at roughly hip height.

Reach out and take the handle, bring your elbow in to your side and have your lower arm (elbow to wrist) parallel to the floor, with a hammer grip, facing out straight in front of you.

Slowly rotate your arm outwards until it naturally stops.

Then bring your arm internally all the way back, across the midsection till the hand is past the central belly button line

Repeat for at least 12 repetitions.


Stand facing a cable machine and attach a rope.

Select a weight thats not too heavy and is manageable for around 12-15 reps. The rope should be at forehead height.

Stand with your feet staggered, one in front of the other and take the rope with both hands either side.

With a nice straight back and a slight lean backwards (by dropping the trailing knee a little) bring the rope to your forehead with elbows out to the side and your fists either side of your head.

Repeat for 12-15 reps at a time.


If you implement these exercise into your training routine, preferably at the start of your sessions, then you will be taking precautions for the sake of your overall shoulder health. This will help by preventing shoulder pinch, frozen shoulder and trapped nerves. Remember that your rotator cuff muscles are smaller than the encapsulating deltoid muscles and require repetition and not necessarily heavy weight.

Preston, Lancashire

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