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Coach Duffy On Humeral Internal Rotation

My next topic on muscle imbalances and corrective exercises is on humeral internal rotation.  This is pretty much a fancy way of explaining the positioning of the arms.

This simply means that your arms turn in so that your palms are facing back.  In other words, the shoulders and arms are rotating towards the center of the body.

The humerus is the big bone that makes up the upper part of your arm.  So, just break down the position: humeral internal rotation…make sense?

More after the jump….

The muscles of internal rotation include:

  • Deltoid Muscle
  • Subscapularis
  • Teres Major
  • Latissumus Dorsi
  • Pectoralis Major

Ok, so how do you know if you have humerii that internally rotate?

Here’s an easy test: Hold onto a pencil in front of a mirror and see what angle the pencil is pointing when your arms and shoulders are at rest.

As you can see, this is a pretty normal posture, and the pencil is more or less pointing straight and back. Now, check out this one:

See the difference?  Look how that pencil is pointing across the person’s body.  This person definitely has some internal rotation going on!

The second area that you want to look at are your shoulder blades.  Now, you obviously can’t see your own shoulder blades, so have somebody take a look, or take a picture for you with your shirt off.

See where your scapula (shoulder blades) are positioned.  If they are drifted away from your spine, this is even more of an indication that your shoulders are turning in.

If the scapula look normal, the problem may lie with tight muscles in your forearms.

To check this out: look at the way your elbows are pointing while standing at rest.  If your elbows are pointing out, you most likely are looking at a true humeral internal rotation.

One other area that you want to look at are your wrist flexors (forearms).  Here’s a quick test to check if you have tight flexors:

- Bend your elbows at 90 degrees while your arms are at your sides.

- Attempt to rotate your forarms and hands so that your palms face straight up to the ceiling.

If you cannot do this, you need to constantly stretch your wrist flexors.  Here’s an easy way to do so:

If you sit at a computer all day, there’s a good chance that these muscles in your forearm are extremely tight.  Do this stretch every time you take a break from typing.

If you have this internal rotation at your humerii, don’t be alarmed, just realize that you need to do the proper stretches and strengthening exercises to help correct it.  Over time, if unaddressed, the problem will get worse.

Normally, someone who has a protracted shoulder girdle will also have an internal rotation at the humerus.  It is the people who do nothing about the conditions who will find out that things are getting worse later on.  Posture suffers big time.  Proper range of motion is limited.  Well balanced strength is lost.  Eventually everyday activity can suffer and become more difficult.

Check out my video on a few stretches and exercises to help improve your internal humeral rotation:

Andrew Duffy, A.T.C., N.E.T.A., is a certified Charleston Personal Trainer and the Studio Director at Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studio.  He has over 8 years of experience as a personal trainer, fitness coach, weight loss expert, and bootcamp instructor.  You can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation to begin your new life of health and fitness.

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Category: Corrective Exercise.