By Nick Tumminello

All serious lifters love putting up big bench press numbers. But, it’s no secret that what can come with those big bench press numbers is the possibility of shoulder problems. Particularly with the rotator cuff musculature. Shoulders problems are a lifters worst nightmare. These issues can really hinder your performance, prevent you from performing several tried and true exercises like the bench press. And, even put on the surgeons table.

Performing some simple rotator cuff strengthening exercises like the supine external rotation shown in the video can prevent all these negatives and even improve your strength!

I developed the supine shoulder external rotation exercise because most of the traditional exercises for external shoulder rotation are poorly designed and allow too much room for error and compensation:


One of the best times to perform the supine external rotation exercise is as “active recovery” between sets of Bench press as shown in this video:


Many of my athletes find performing the supine external rotation exercise between sets of bench press:

* Reduces shoulder pain/discomfort both during and after heavy pushing workouts by offsetting some of the heavy internal rotation stresses caused by the bench press.

* Helps them push bigger numbers each set by diverting blood flow to the opposing musculature which has been shown to increase recovery time and strength between sets

* Helps them maintain better muscle balance and symmetry between the anterior and posterior shoulder muscular. Muscle imbalances are a major cause of injury!

Coaching Tip – when performing the supine shoulder external rotation exercise, be sure to keep the resistance light and do not go to fatigue! Perform 10-15 reps

So, take my advice and throw in some smarter rotator cuff training between sets of heavy pushing exercises like the bench press. You will soon have stronger and healthier shoulders!


Nick Tumminello, the director of Performance University, is a nationally recognized coach and educator who works with a select group of athletes, physique competitors, and exercise enthusiasts in Baltimore, Maryland. Go to his website to get your free “Smarter & Stronger” video course.


This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - July 23rd, 2010

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