Dumbbell Incline Shoulder External Rotation
External rotation focuses on your rotator cuff muscles, but these exercises also work your shoulder muscles. Dumbbell incline shoulder external rotation is an great isolation exercise and it must be done unilaterally. If these movements bother your neck, try resting your head on your outstretched arm.
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Set the bench to a 15-degree incline. Lie on your left side on an incline bench and grasp a light dumbbell in your right hand. Bend your top elbow 90 degrees and rest it on the folded-up towel so your upper arm is parallel to your torso and your right forearm hangs down in front of your abs (your forearm is perpendicular to your body). Position legs lower on bench for support.
EXECUTION (ACTION): Rotate your upper arm up and back as far as you comfortably can, without allowing your elbow to lose contact with the towel. In other words, slowly pull the dumbbell up toward the ceiling until your forearm is roughly perpendicular to your torso. Hold for a one-count at the top and then return to the start position and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions. Then switch to the other arm – lie on your right side and do the same number of reps with your left arm.
Additional Tips for Dumbbell Incline Shoulder External Rotation
- In initial position your working arm should be in “L” position, bent 90 degrees at the elbow.
- Keep your elbow fixed (elbow is tightly against side) as you rotate your arm. Keep the inside part of the biceps pressed against your torso.
- Keep the same angle in your elbow (90 degrees) and wrist during the movement, and don’t move your shoulder or torso back to get a greater range of motion.
- Do not use a lot of weight on this exercise. Concentrate on performing the exercise correctly and feeling the work in the infraspinatus.
- Perform the exercise gently and smoothly.
- Raise your hand as far as you comfortably can (the distance depends on your flexibility). Do not force the weight farther than your natural flexibility allows.
- Do at least 20 repetitions. The burn that results from doing long sets with light weights will help you better feel the work in the infraspinatus.
- You can change the orientation of your hand to see if you feel the exercise better using supinated grip (pinky toward the torso) or a pronated grip (thumb facing your torso). Using a dumbbell gives you the largest possible number of hand positions.
- Lying Dumbbell External Rotation. Lie across a flat exercise bench resting on your upper back, keeping your elbow in contact with the bench.
- Side Lying Dumbbell External Rotation. Lie on your side on the floor or a flat bench.
- Cable External Rotation. You can perform shoulder external rotation while standing and with cables.
Muscles Used in Dumbbell Incline Shoulder External Rotation
Main muscles: infraspinatus, teres minor
Secondary muscles: deltoid (rear)
Antagonists: subscapularis, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major