Strengthening your shoulder muscles is as important as doing the same for any other muscles in the body. And there is no better way to do this than with side lying external rotation.
The exercise shifts muscle engagement to the rotator cuff found in your shoulders. These muscles help you perform daily activities which involve your arm.
Therefore, having healthy shoulder muscles is paramount. You achieve this by incorporating exercises that target them.
Here is how you perform the side lying external rotation exercise.
- Lie unilaterally with your hands on your head to keep it steady.
- Tightly hold a dumbbell with your other hand.
- As you hold a dumbbell in your other hand, keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle at your side.
- Position the dumbbell to rest a few inches from your stomach.
- Rotate your upper arm in a sweeping arch action to raise the dumbbell.
- Keep your elbow close to your torso.
- Pause when your shoulder rotation becomes impossible without a movement of the corresponding elbow.
- Lower the dumbbells to the initial position.
- Repeat the move, this time switching sides.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SIDE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION WORK?
Side lying external rotation mainly targets your shoulders. Here is more.
ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES
These are the main muscles of the shoulder, consisting of four smaller muscles. They include:
- Teres minor
The four muscles making up the rotator cuff stabilize your shoulder joint and facilitate arm movement in various directions.
Much of the action is on your shoulder in this workout, and the weight in hand adds resistance.
Other muscles worked include:
The triceps are primarily responsible for extending the elbow joint.
Biceps support forearm supination. This muscle on the front of your arm aid pulls and lifts objects.
SIDE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION BENEFITS
The general fitness of your shoulder muscles is crucial. It seems this is forgotten at times, but side lying external rotation workout has the following benefits.
IMPROVES SHOULDER MOBILITY
Healthy rotator cuffs are your ticket to getting optimal shoulder mobility. The four rotator cuff muscles keep your shoulder blades in good form.
They give you excellent shoulder movement.
BETTER SHOULDER STABILITY
By working the shoulders, you increase their joint stability courtesy of the rotator cuffs attached to tendons.
REDUCES SHOULDER PAIN
Research shows the increased range of motion for the rotator cuff drives away shoulder pain. However, exercise with lighter weights.
ALTERNATIVES TO SIDE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION
Are there any side lying external rotation variations targeting the shoulder muscles? The answer is yes, there are.
They include the following.
- Use a foam roller or cushion to prop up your head while lying on your side.
- Place your lower arm at a 90-degree angle from your shoulder.
- Place your elbow firmly on the floor.
- Raise your forearm in a salute to the heavens.
- Place your bottom forearm on the floor
- For a shoulder stretch, place your bottom forearm on the floor.
- Gently press it down with your top arm.
STANDING WALL ANGELS
Standing wall angels are a terrific way to warm up your shoulders while also improving your attention to detail when it comes to your form.
It is one of those shoulder exercises that tells you in an instant if or not your form is correct.
How to do it
- Position yourself against a wall.
- Let your upper back, head and tailbone lean against the wall.
- Bend your elbows so that your hands properly rest on the surface
- Slide your arms up against the wall as you raise your arms aloft.
- Keep your hands, elbows, head and back against the wall.
- Lower your arms until they are at or near your head height.
- Make sure you don’t lose contact with the wall as you glide your arms up and down.
SHOULDER EXTERNAL ROTATION AT NEUTRAL
This side lying external rotation variation is easy on your shoulder, giving you proper muscle targeting.
How to do it
- Set a cable machine or a resistance band at the level of your belly.
- As you stand on the side next to the anchor, hold the resistance band with your outer hand.
- Pull the band sideways by pushing your shoulder blade against your back while keeping your elbow on your side.
- Return the band to the starting position.
- Perform the exercise once again.
- Perform three 15-rep sets.
BARBELL OVERHEAD PRESS
The overhead barbell press is for you if you desire more muscular, bigger, and boulder-like shoulders.
How to do it
- Place your hands slightly outside your shoulders on the bar in front of you.
- Stack your elbows vertically on top of one another.
- Your grasp is either too narrow or too broad if your elbows point out or inward.
- Please make the necessary modifications if this is the case.
- For maximum force generation, place your barbell near the heel of your palm.
- Once you reach lockout, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
HALF-KNEELING LANDMINE PRESS
Those with limited shoulder mobility benefit from the half-kneeling landmine press. It is a combination of horizontal and vertical workouts.
How to do it:
- Assume a half-kneeling stance.
- Ensure your knees are under your hips and your ankles are under your kneecaps.
- Tightly hold a barbell at shoulder distance with the hand that is closest to your back leg.
- Push upwards at a 45-degree angle.
- Reach for the ceiling when the lockout is over.
- In a calculated step, lower yourself once more.
SIDE LYING EXTERNAL ROTATION MISTAKES TO AVOID
The simplicity of the side lying external rotation makes it a top rehabilitation exercise, but people make the following mistakes.
- Using heavy weights is not advsaible because it interferes with your ability to perform the exercise correctly.
- Minimal shoulder rotation.
- Flexing your wrist to make up for the reduced range of motion. This leads to shoulder pain because the pressure expulsion in the shoulder blades is not complete.
Your whole life comes to a standstill anytime you develop shoulder pain. You can’t lift anything, nor can you move your arm. However, side lying external rotation is your protective remedy for all this. Moreover, it is easy to learn and execute.