External shoulder rotation is when the humerus rotates away from the center of the body. This skill is key to great posture and keeping your shoulders healthy.
Exercises that externally rotate the shoulder strengthen the infraspinatus, teres minor (two of the rotator cuff muscles), as well as your posterior deltoid. A strong rotator cuff keeps the humerus in the optimal position for lifting the arms overhead with strength without tension.
If you want to lift heavy weights or just reach for something off the top shelf without compression and strain in the shoulder, add exercises that improve external rotation into your program.
Pilates offers a lot of exercises that can help. Here are a few to get you started:
To learn each of these exercises and to see even more exercises that improve external rotation of the shoulder, check out the Programming & Sequencing chapter of the Pilates Encyclopedia. You'll get videos and detailed instructions for each exercise!
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