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Many athletes think that internal/external rotating band exercises help improve recovery and stabilize the rotator cuff, but they actually do very little.
I've put together a list of five effective rotator cuff exercises that I use when training professional athletes, especially baseball players.
Remember to start small and build up to heavier weight. These exercises build and maintain rotator cuff strength. If you are injured, see a physical therapist.
1. Quadruped Rhythmic Stabilizations
Before we bring an athlete off the ground, we want to stabilize his or her core with the rotator cuff. We do that by doing the exercise in a plank position with the knees bent rather than standing up. This eliminates the need to focus as much on the rest of the body.
2. Band Distracted Stabilizations
Here we are trying to tie the shoulder blade and its stability into the rotator cuff. The band provides an opposing force for the athlete to pull against to set the scapula.
3. Bottoms Up Kettlebell Carries
Once we have core control, shoulder-blade stability and a properly timed rotator cuff, we work on strengthening the rotator cuff by firing up the muscles and controlling our weight from falling.
4. TRX Rows with Full Shoulder Rotations
Here the athlete has a rigid core, fired glutes and a packed shoulder. As you move through the motion, fully rotate your arms so your palms face away from each other. The shoulder is a spiral joint, and this allows full movement and control.
5. Push-Up Shoulder Circuit
Beyond just pushing, this Push-Up circuit improves the shoulder girdle and strengthens the cuff and muscles around it with a wide variety of movements, rotations and stress.