In the seventh instalment of our upper body stabilisation series of exercise tutorials, we feature the DB External Rotation.
This exercise is a great option for both strikers and grapplers, to build strength, stability and resilience through the shoulder to withstand the punishment inflicted by the combat sports. One of the specific benefits for grapplers and MMA fighters is that strong external rotators will lead to a greater chance of defending/escaping upper body submissions (i.e: Kimura, Americana) while keeping the shoulder joint free of injury.
Another benefit for strikers is that strong external rotators will enable more efficient deceleration of punches, and potentiate greater levels of punching power while keeping the shoulder joint, again, injury free.
The DB External Rotation is commonly used particularly in a structural balance training phase, for strengthening the rotator cuff musculature, particularly the external rotators (Infraspinatus and Teres Minor) and building stability through the the shoulder joint.
The main difference here between this and the cable external rotation exercise featured in the second instalment of this series is the line of force and the angle of the humerus in relation to the glenohumeral joint. The DB external rotation exercise creates a more unstable position for the glenohumeral joint than the cable external rotation exercise, as well as the need to resist against gravity. As such, the DB external rotation exercise serves as a progression from the cable external rotation, and may well be used in the later phases of a structural balance training cycle.
The key here is to fully depress and retract the shoulder blade, increasing the distance between your ear and your collar bone. Be sure to brace and contract the abdominals, keeping a neutral lower spine.
Always begin each set using your non-dominant arm first, then mirror the same amount of reps on your dominant side.
Many thanks to coach Nadia Piazza and Unknown sponsored Boxing athlete Matt Cleave, as well as our champion videographer Teresa McNair!!