Exercises For Internal And External Shoulder Rotation


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Shoulder external rotation is the opposite of shoulder internal rotation. If shoulder internal rotation, as shown by the left shoulder in the picture below, decreases shoulder range-of-motion then shoulder external rotation will increase shoulder range-of-motion.

The shoulder joint has two sets of muscles that control these motions. External rotators are on the front, outer shoulder, while internal rotators are on the back shoulder. The shoulder joint is very complicated because it has to be mobile enough to move in every direction, but stable enough that you can pick up heavy objects without dislocating your shoulder.

Three Planes Of Motion

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The shoulder moves through three planes of motion – shoulder flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, and shoulder horizontal abduction/adduction.

When the shoulder is flexed, extended, or adducted there are two motions that occur at the shoulder joint – glenohumeral flexion/extension (moving the shoulder forward towards the chest or backward away from the chest) and glenohumeral abduction/adduction (moving shoulder towards the shoulder midline).

In shoulder abduction, external shoulder rotators are activated. This is because during shoulder abduction the head of your upper arm bone (the humerus) must move away from the shoulder midline and it does this by rotating from its position in the shoulder socket. In shoulder adduction, internal shoulder muscles are stimulated because the shoulder joint moves towards the shoulder midline.I hope this helps!! I love shoulder rotations!

Dislocating Shoulder 

A woman wearing a dress

External shoulder rotators are on the front, outer shoulder, while internal rotators are on the back shoulder. The shoulder joint is very complicated because it has to be mobile enough to move in every direction, but stable enough that you can pick up heavy objects without dislocating your shoulder.

When the shoulder is flexed, extended, or adducted there are two motions that occur at the shoulder joint – glenohumeral flexion/extension (moving the shoulder forward towards the chest or backward away from the chest) and glenohumeral abduction/adduction (moving shoulder towards the shoulder midline).

In shoulder abduction, external shoulder rotators are activated. This is because during shoulder abduction the head of your upper arm bone (the humerus) must move away from the shoulder midline and it does this by rotating from its position in the shoulder socket. In shoulder adduction, internal shoulder muscles are stimulated because the shoulder joint moves towards the shoulder midline.

Hope this helps!! I love shoulder rotations!

Please let me know if you have any questions! If my answer is too concise, please feel free to ask for elaboration or a more thorough explanation. Thank you so much!

The shoulder moves through three planes of motion – shoulder flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, and shoulder horizontal abduction/adduction.

When the shoulder is flexed, extended, or adducted there are two motions that occur at the shoulder joint – glenohumeral flexion/extension (moving the shoulder forward towards the chest or backward away from the chest) and glenohumeral abduction/adduction (moving shoulder towards the shoulder midline).

Final Verdict

In shoulder abduction, external shoulder rotators are activated. This is because during shoulder abduction the head of your upper arm bone (the humerus) must move away from the shoulder midline and it does this by rotating from its position in the shoulder socket. In shoulder adduction, internal shoulder muscles are stimulated because the shoulder joint moves towards the shoulder midline.

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