I am wondering about how to increase my rotator cuff activation on pull-up exercise?I think these following practises increase my rotator cuff activation on pull-up.

-Wide Grip

-Weighted pull-up with low reps or bodyweight pull up with high reps?

3 Answers 3


Scapular Pull Ups

I'd take a look at this just to clean up everything:

Last thing. I'm not sure how you're doing your weighted pull-ups (or dips for that matter) but holding a DB between your legs, especially if you're doing a weight over 45lbs IMO is the way to go (speed ease, no-in out delays / no annoyances etc...).

I personally can't stand weight vest / belts. Good luck!

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  • You enjoy doing weighted pull-ups with a dumbell rather than a belt? How come? I always feel like I have to focus to much on holding the dumbell tight, it's really hard trying to hold a 50kg/110lbs dumbell between your legs/feet while focussing on doing a pull-up. For me atleast.
    – MJB
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:54
  • 100%, I don't even think twice about it. I never got to 110lbs (I use 75lbs). I've never seen anyone do 110lbs wide grip that's impressive. I actually have my dumbbell parallel to the floor not perpendicular like in that pic I posted my mistake.
    – Mike-DHSc
    Mar 2, 2018 at 15:05
  • I feel like I've cut 15 min off my workout time not having to deal with a belt anymore. The biggest issue used to be was the in-and-out of weight belts........ If you're only doing one set, I wouldn't worry about it - but 5 or more I'd look for a better way.
    – Mike-DHSc
    Mar 2, 2018 at 15:10
  • Fair enough. I guess its personal preference. I tend to do about 4 sets of weighted pull-ups before I got into regular pull-ups. Getting in and out of the belt is no issue though, it takes about 3 seconds. Maybe the belt in your gym is different.
    – MJB
    Mar 3, 2018 at 15:53

Do sternum pull ups on rings, when you are at the top portion you have to lift your legs up, straight like in a front lever then externally rotate your shoulders like in a pull apart or a "no money" exercise.

If you find it too hard just use bands or get assistance from someone .

Normal pull ups do nothing for your rotator cuff, as those muscles just give a small secondary assistance in stabilizing your scapula(during a normal pull up).


When you are at the top of a pull-up, push your self back from the bar and then pull back towards the bar. Stay at the same height when you do this. While this is an additional movement for the pull-up, it’s also something relatively easy to incorporate into pull-ups. Alternatively you can repeat these as isolated movements.

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