I love to see people doing external rotations for their rotator cuff in the gym. It shows that they’ve done their homework or have had good exercise instruction. However, I do see people making some mistakes with these exercises. The effectiveness of rotator cuff exercises is all about precise technique to activate the right muscles. In this article, I’ll go over the 3 most common mistakes I see people make with these exercises.
1. Poor Postural Positioning
Holding a good postural position is the key to good technique for most exercises and rotator cuff exercises are no different. You should maintain a good upright position when you perform rotator cuff exercises. Even if you’re on your side or laying face down on a therapy table, you should keep yourself in proper alignment. If you’re not sure what good postural positioning is, then ask a professional for some help.
2. Poor Arm Control
This is the one I see the most. People have a tendency to let their arm move too much at the wrong joints. Rotator cuff exercises are all about the shoulder. There shouldn’t be any compensatory movement from any other joint. Using a rolled up towel under your arm will help you control extraneous movement and activate the right muscles.
3. Working the Rotator Cuff Too Hard
I have to admit I’ve been guilty of this one. Don’t use too much weight or work the rotator cuff to failure. There is nothing wrong with progressing the resistance but if you can’t feel the right muscles you’re probably using to much weight. Working the rotator cuff to failure is a bad idea. Once you fatigue those muscles they can’t do their job right which means you’re shoulder isn’t stable. That’s bad. Work the muscles until you get start to feel a burn then stop. If you start to struggle then you’re working them too hard.
Try it and let me know if that helps!