Rotator cuff injuries are all too common, inside and outside of the gym and once that injury occurs you may never fully recover from it. So it is in every lifters best interest to do everything they can to prevent them.
The rotator cuff muscles support this area- they are the superinfraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These muscles reside next to the rear delts and cover the shoulder blades. Often people work their front delts a lot with bench press and military presses, leaving the rotator cuff muscles lagging and unable to keep up with the work load- creating risk of injury through muscular imbalance.
Although rotator cuff exercises may seem tedious, they are well worth doing to complete the full rounded shoulders we all want- so lets get to work!
Conquer your cuffs
A good way to start is with internal rotations using light dumbbells or resistance bands. Using light weights; aim to move slowly and complete a full range of motion. Then you should perform the external rotation in the same fashion.
Also variations of lateral raises work well; altering your hand position, posture etc will help a lot. Start again with a light dumbbell and try three different grips 1) palms facing the ceiling 2) palms facing the floor 3) in the hammer position and be sure to contract and extend the muscle in a full range of motion.
We actually suggest that you use cables to work rotator cuffs as the weight increments are more favorable and you can keep the targeted area under constant tension. We also that you focus on doing one side at a time, but always mix things up to keep the body guessing and improving.
Stretching and warm up
Stretching is so important and can prevent injuries, also do a couple of warm up sets at the start of each workout to get your blood pumping into the area. One also has to understand that the body works as a unit and should be trained equally. If you don’t, you will suffer the consequences further down the line.
Hit each delt head equally with compound moves and isolation work, don’t neglect your upper back and listen to your body. Take all of this advice and you will be well on your way to conquering those rotator cuffs.