The Dumbbell External Rotation – Arm Abducted In Front is a great exercise for strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and improving shoulder stability. A weak rotator cuff along with inadequate strength in the scapular stabilizers can lead to altered shoulder function and poor shoulder stability.

Proper set up is the most important part of this exercise. This exercise is not really a strength movement; it is a corrective exercise designed to strengthen the rotator cuff and improve shoulder stability, which is critical to long-term progress and keeping the shoulder free of injury. As good shoulder (and scapular) stability is developed, we then progress our athletes to more traditional strength movements.

The key things to be aware of when performing this movement are:

1) A firm, strong split stance with the leg of the working arm back

2) Support your elbow on a sturdy object with your elbow approximately 2 inches below your armpit

3) Keep your elbow in line with, or slightly outside shoulder width; don’t let your elbow deviate inside shoulder width

4) Keep the scapula (shoulder blade) of the working arm “locked down”

5) When internally rotating stop the movement as the forearm passes below parallel to the floor in a smooth, consistent motion, no jerky or violent movement here

6) As you externally rotate stop when the forearm is perpendicular to the floor

Choose a weight that will enable you to perform the prescribed number of reps; you don’t want a weight that is too light or too heavy. As a rule of thumb with our corrective and remedial exercises, if you can’t perform the exercise while maintaining good form, then the weight is probably too heavy for you.

Challenge yourself, but always maintain good technique and good form. Please contact us if you have any questions about this exercise or anything we can assist with to make you a better performing athlete. Until next time, stay strong.

– Chris

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