I would love to begin by sharing all of the Not To Do’s for this exercise, because OMG the amount of time’s I’ve seen the external rotation performed incorrectly is incredible. Injury people!!! But rather than beginning on a negative note, I’ll ignore my little rant and just get right into how amazing the external rotation is for you…..when done correctly! 😉
The external rotation exercise strengthens your infraspinatus; a small muscle, which is one of four small muscles that are grouped together, and make up what we know as the rotator cuff.
Since the external rotation targets your infraspinatus only, it is what is known as an isolated exercise. The infraspinatus is responsible for rotating your shoulder externally, along with stabilizing the shoulder.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT HAVING A STRONG ROTATOR CUFF?
Pretty much to help prevent injury, and/or shoulder pain. The tendons within the rotator cuff can become injured/torn easily, ESPECIALLY when these muscles aren’t strong enough to support the exercises/movement that you’re doing.
If someone weren’t active or does workout but tends to ignore the infraspinatus, and then tried to lift something heavy, throw something or pull something towards their body, it could easily cause a tear.
Not fun! Then there’s shoulder pain and sometimes back pain. Sucks !!
But exercise is THE BEST preventative for injury, and this is one exercise that I will never ditch!
HOW TO: the lying dumbbell external rotation
+ lay on your side, support your head with your elbow, with your opposite elbow supported on your side
+ bend your arm up, with your forearm facing away from your body and the dumbbell parallel to the floor
+ this is the starting position
+ slowly lower the dumbbell towards the floor, inhaling
+ FOCUS ON THE INFRASPINATUS and pull the dumbbell back up to starting position, exhaling slowly
This is one rep. Repeat.
WHEN TO USE THE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION?
You can add this exercise to any shoulder workout or even a back day. Depending on your program.
I would recommend doing anywhere from 3 – 5 sets, of 10 – 15 reps.
Another way I really like to do the external rotation is using a cable at the gym, or a resistance band at home. You can stand, or kneel doing the exercise this way.
You’re also engaging your core when you’re standing to perform the external rotation, so it makes it the exercise a little harder since you’re getting more muscles involved. 🙂
Also, since this is an isolated exercise, you should always perform it at the end of your workout. 🙂
Happy rotating! 🙂