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Supine Shoulder Medial Rotation in Abduction

A good way to increase the challenge of the anterior rotator cuff, which consists of subscapularis, is to load medial rotation in an abducted position. By having the shoulder abducted it places the rotator cuff in a disadvantaged longer position, and is associated with the position the rotator cuff has to work incredibly hard to maintain shoulder stability.

Other cues

Keep the shoulder pinned down

Keep your heels pushed into the ground

Grip the dumbbell firmly

Targeted muscles trained


Key movements trained

Shoulder medial rotation

Anterior shoulder stability


The abducted position is a vulnerable position for the shoulder joint and by completing your rotation work here it has great transference into function and defending the shoulder in a variety of ranges. By laying down and supporting the shoulder and upper arm you reduce the work of the larger global muscles that can interfere with the targeting of the rotator cuff.

If you move into this exercise, it is important to have the elbow supported slightly (at least to begin with) as it brings there humerus (upper arm) into the same plane as the scapula (called the scapula plane), this helps to reduce compression of the tendons and bursa within the shoulder joint.

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