Muscle group:   The shoulder muscles

Trained muscle:   Rotator cuff

Focused muscle:   Internal rotators

Fitness level:   Advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises, free weight exercises, machine exercises


 

Internal rotation represents an effective exercise for the internal rotators of the rotator cuff of the shoulder. We can choose between different variations using free weights, the cable machine, or just our own body weight.

Internal rotation on the cable machine

Internal rotation on the cable machine can be practised in standing, sitting, or lying position. The standing and sitting versions are quite similar. Sideways, we either stand shoulder wide with slightly bend knees or sit on the cable machine. The cable runs on arm level. Tense the trunk muscles and hold on to the machine (if possible), the seat cushion, or similar to stabilize the body. Grab the handle tightly and actively stabilize the wrist. The elbow fixates on the side of the body and the upper arm is externally rotated. In a controlled movement you now internally rotate the upper arm. The forearm performs a circular movement until it is in front of the body. The back of the hand points to the front. Bring the arm back smoothly to complete one repetition.

Internal rotation on the cable machine

Internal rotation on the cable machine

 

For internal rotations in lying position we get in supine position with our head toward the cable machine. The legs are bent. The upper arm of the training arm lies on the floor on shoulder level. The elbow bends at approximately 90°. The arm rotates externally to have it point toward the machine. Grab the handle and actively stabilize the wrist. Now the upper arm rotates internally. The forearm performs a circular movement. In the end position the arm points down toward the feet. The back of the hand points up. The upper arm remains in its position on the floor. Bring back the arm smoothly to complete one repetition.

Internal rotation on the cable machine

Internal rotation on the cable machine

 

Internal rotation – isometrically

Internal rotations can also be performed isometrically. Stand shoulder wide or in lunge position beside an insurmountable resistance, like a wall, a pole, a machine, or similar. Raise the training arm with the elbow on shoulder level. The elbow bends at approximately 90° and the forearm points upward. Elbow and forearm lie flatly on the insurmountable resistance. Tens the trunk muscles. The free arm can hold on to the wall, the machine, or similar to stabilize the body. The training arm now applies maximal internally-rotating pressure to the insurmountable resistance. Avoid press breathing (exhalation against closed airways).

Internal rotation isometric

Internal rotation isometric

 

Internal and external rotation combined

Internal rotations can also be combined with the exercise external rotation. Here, we either lie laterally on the floor or bench. The legs are bent at approximately 90°. The elbows bend at approximately 90° and fixate on the sides of the body. Hold the dumbbells in tight grip actively stabilizing your wrists. From that position rotate the top arm externally and the bottom arm internally in a controlled movement. Both forearms will perform a circular upward movement. The upper arms remain fixated on the body. Bring the arms back down to complete one repetition. To solely work out this variation in internal rotation, you would just use the bottom arm. For the sole external rotation please see External rotation.

Internal and external rotation combined

Internal and external rotation combined

 


Antagonist: External rotators

Stretching: Chest stretches

 

 

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