Few things are as frustrating to a bodybuilder as an injury. When you’re injured as a bodybuilder you need to take time out of your training. That in turn means you lose muscle mass and gains – but if you try to jump back in to your training too soon, then you will only set your recovery back and thus take even longer to heal completely.
This is why bodybuilders need to ensure they’re careful when using any exercise that will place strain on particularly weak areas. And one of the biggest examples such areas is the rotator cuff. Your rotator cuffs are what internally and externally rotate the shoulders and it’s crucial to build these up in order to support the shoulders through other movements. What’s more, it’s crucial to ensure you have balance between the two movements or you will end up with shoulder pain from working out. And bench pressing, doing press-ups or doing shoulder presses is rather difficult when your shoulders are completely out of action.
Here then we will look at some of the biggest rotator cuff mistakes that are leaving you vulnerable to shoulder injuries.
Mistake #1 – Ignoring the Rotator Cuffs
A lot of people don’t think about their rotator cuffs, don’t know how to train them and let them become weak and atrophied as a result. To train your rotator cuff, stand holding a cable (so that it is at elbow height) with your elbow tucked in and your arm at 90 degrees. Now, rotate the cable outwards pulling it away from you, or stand further away (and facing the opposite direction) and pull it inwards. These two moves will target the external and internal rotations respectively.
Mistake #2 – Floating the Elbow
When performing the exercise described above, you might find your elbow slowly raising and moving away from your side. If that happens, then you’re turning the exercise into a multi-joint movement and you’re lessening the involvement of your rotator cuff. Now you have much more of a side lateral raise.
To get the movement right, try pinning a towel to your body with your elbow. If you raise the elbow, the towel will drop and you’ll know you’ve made a mistake.
Mistake #3 – Rounded Shoulders
If you are in bad posture with your shoulders rounded, then you’re limiting your shoulder’s range of movement. Stand up straight with your shoulders resting comfortably back and your shoulder blades down. This will give you easier freedom of movement in your shoulder allowing you to target the rotator cuffs much more easily.
Mistake #4 – Creating Imbalance
If you create an imbalance such that you are training the internal rotation much more than the external rotation then you’ll increase your likelihood of injury as well as damaging your technique and posture. Try to look at your routine and all the exercises you’re using and see if you’re accidentally hitting one rotation more than the other. Simply adding the two rotator exercises will go a long way to improving the situation.