Written by Jamie Wykes Hobday
The Rotator Cuff
Injury prevention is an essential component of any training program. Without it, unsurprisingly; you have an increased likelihood of falling under a potentially serious injury and therefore being inactive for a prolonged period of time.
So, how can we reduce this injury likelihood? Whilst nutrition, antioxidants, stretching and supplementation can play a role in injury prevention; there are specific exercises designed to achieve this goal. Applying injury prevention exercises to your daily training regime is what is going to set you apart from the rest and essentially increase your chances of physical longevity.
The Rotator Cuff
Whilst injuries such as tennis elbow, groin tear and lower back pain are amongst some of the most common sporting injuries, an injury that is becoming increasingly prevalent is shoulder injuries. To explain in greater detail, this is commonly caused by weak rotator cuff muscles.
The rotator cuff muscle is comprised of four different muscles in total; the trees minor, infraspinatus, supraspinatus and subscapularis. This injury is most likely to occur when the joints are not prepared for performance or the rotator cuff has not been primed sufficiently during training sessions. Once this injury has taken place; not only does it cause dramatic pain, postural issues and reduced functionality but it can also affect us in the gym by preventing us doing exercises such as many different presses, upright rows and lateral raises. But surely there is a way that we can prevent this injury from occurring?
Internal and external rotations are what you are looking for! The internal/external rotation is one of the most effective exercises in shoulder rehabilitation and is particularly penetrative to the subscapularis of the rotator cuff muscle. Below is a step by step guide on how to perform the exercise.
#1 Stand side on to the cable attachment and adjust the height so that it is aligned with your lower torso.
#2 At this stage, once the cable has been grasped; your arm should be bent at the elbow joint, creating a 90-degree angle.
#3 Keep your elbows by your side throughout this exercise to maximise the full benefits.
#1 As you exhale your breath, rotate your shoulder inwards and pull the cable towards you. Continue to do so until your arm has come completely across your torso.
#2 Ensure that you are keeping your arm at a 90-degree angle throughout and all the movement/momentum is being created by the shoulder joint and not the rest of your body.
#1 As you inhale, carefully return your arm back to the starting position.
#2 Pause, recompose and repeat for the designated number of repetitions.
Variations of The Internal Rotation:
Alternatively, this exercise can be performed with any of the following pieces of training equipment;
✓ Weight plates
Benefits of The Internal Rotations
✓ Reduced injury likelihood and therefore improved sports performance
✓ Increased strength potential in compound lifts involving the rotator cuff muscles (bench press, rows, shoulder presses)
✓ Progressions and regressions available; if the exercise is proving difficult to perform, it can be regressed and performed either using just your bodyweight or a light resistance band. Alternatively, the same can be done if it is too simple; simply increase the resistance that you are using.
✓ Practicality; due to the fact that this exercise can be performed just with a resistance band or bodyweight, it can be performed anywhere! This creates an extremely convenient and practical injury prevention exercise.
✓ Improved posture; one of the key components of everyday functionality.