Friday Fix: Rotator cuff care

Accessory work and targeted stabilization exercises aren't sexy or popular. Seriously, have you ever heard anyone say, "I can't wait to get to the gym and work on my scapular retractions?"

Of course not. But for anyone who trains consistently, taking care of your rotator cuff -- whose job it is to stabilize the shoulder joint -- is a necessary part of any program. This is especially true for overhead lifters, and throwers, such as baseball players.

A weak, unstable or irritated rotator cuff can sabotage your progress and impair the structural integrity of your shoulder. It's no fun.

At Max Velocity Fitness + Performance, we use a progression for all overhead lifts that begins with half-kneeling exercises, such as landmine presses and single-arm dumbbell or kettlebell presses. (More on those here.) Only after establishing integrity in the shoulder-scapular relationship, with core stability and proper pelvis position, do we move on to two-armed dumbbell/kettlebell lifts, and finally, barbell overhead lifts. 

Again, it's not sexy, but it's a far superior approach than repping out massive amounts of overhead barbell lifts on top of a dysfunctional movement pattern.

In this week's Friday Fix, I want to bring to your attention two rotator cuff stabilization drills you can do -- one with a partner, and one without. The first exercise is called "rhythmic stabilizations" and is explained in the following video from renowned baseball trainer Eric Cressey.

But what if you're training by yourself and don't have a partner? No problem. You can get a similar benefit from an exercise called a "one-armed band push-pull," demonstrated below by Tony Gentilcore -- co-creator of an amazing new training resource called the "Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint."

Try these exercises during your prehab or open training sessions; something tells me you'll be seeing them in your program soon. If you want to learn more, check out this article from with some more detailed explanations and fixes for both your shoulders and hips.

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