How to Bulletproof Your Shoulders

Internal and External Rotation

Two of the most common rotator cuff exercises that help strengthen the all-important humeral head depressors are internal and external rotations using a resistance band or cable machine.

"There are three muscles that externally rotate you, and six that internally rotate you," LaBounty says. "The external rotators often aren’t targeted enough, so external rotation is particularly important when strengthening the rotator cuff."

Internal Rotations:

  • Hold a band in your right hand, with your right side facing the attachment point of the band.
  • Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees, keeping your upper arm close to your side.
  • Rotate your shoulder inward, drawing your right hand in toward your torso.
  • Keep your core tight to avoid twisting your torso to the left as you rotate your shoulder.
  • Perform two sets of 10 to 15 reps per side.

External Rotations:

  • Hold a band in your right hand, with your left side facing the attachment point of the band.
  • Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees and keep your upper arm close to your side.
  • Rotate your shoulder externally, drawing your right hand outward, away from your body.
  • Keep your core tight to avoid twisting your torso to the right as you externally rotate.
  • Perform two sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.