Fitness tip - Banded shoulder external rotation

Fitness tip - Banded shoulder external rotation

by Evigan Xiao 1 month ago

The usage of bands in movement drills is something that has become increasingly common in recent years. The appeal behind this approach is that it allows for a single person to include some level of manual resistance, something that is usually only achievable with the help of another person on the scene. The other benefit is that bands allow for progressive loading when it comes to strengthening smaller muscle groups for the purposes of prehab/injury prevention. With shoulder troubles being one of the most common athletic injuries, adding a band to your shoulder drills can prove to be a wise investment.


A significant portion of shoulder injuries can be attributed to muscular imbalances. In such cases, weak or poorly firing external rotators (i.e. infraspinatus and teres minor) are typically the problem, which result in poor stability of the shoulder joint. There are two main reasons behind this, the first and more common one relates to overly sedentary behaviour reinforcing poor posture. The other one involves a lack of training variety, whereby the bulk of upper body exercises recruits the internal rotators but neglects the external rotators. As it stands, the banded shoulder external rotation works well to address both situations.

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit


Mini bands tend to lend themselves particularly well to this movement drill, although an extra-light resistance band looped twice can suffice if one lacks the former. Make sure the band is situated over your wrist bone, right below the base of your thumb. When performing this drill, one should be very conscious of the position of their shoulders. The scapula should be centralised and depressed and the main joint be in line with your ears, not rolling forward. As you raise and lower your arms, focus on working against the tension of the band to rotate your shoulders outwards.


One important thing to take note of: THIS IS NOT A BICEP EXERCISE. The point is not to grab the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can curl; an absurdly light load will work better than a moderately heavy one. The act of curling is merely to put your arms through a range of motion, which creates an environment that requires a level of stability that is significant enough to stimulate but without exhausting. For greater results, think about keeping your hands out and your elbows in.


Higher repetition sets tend to work best with such drills, so feel free to go as high as 15 repetitions per set. You can either do this as part of a dynamic warm-up or work them in as part of an agonist-antagonist superset whereby your pair them after a pressing exercise. Take your external rotations seriously and it will result in some generous dividends where your shoulder's health and performance are concerned!