I'm interested in doing exercises for strengthening the rotator's cuff, as suggested in this question/answer and other good resources.

My question is, do these deserve their own spot in the training schedule or can they be done at the same time as regular shoulder exercises? Should they be done at a certain distance from shoulder training etc.

NOTE: I do not have any shoulder injury or pain.

1 Answer 1


Personally, unless you have a known deficiency or need to strengthen them for a specific reason, I would just let your normal training take care of them. They are ancillary muscles for most movements (Which means accessory or helping muscles), and their primary function is to stabilize/rotate the upper arm, mostly by keeping the head of the humerus in place in the shoulder.

You could add a segment specifically to train them, but then you run the risk of overtraining them since they are used so much in other movements. ANY motion where the arm is moving is going to use the SITS muscles, so they are getting trained any time you do rows, presses, pullups, etc.

If you do decide to train them on their own, use light weights and strict attention to form.

  • I don't know if this really answers the question (or I'm missing the direct answer that does). We can open up a different discussion of whether or not there is any preventative value to strengthening the rotator's cuff in absence of injury (lots of resources I have read indicate shoulder injuries resulting from weak rotator's cuffs). The question here is whether those muscles are better trained together with the rest of the shoulder workout, on a separate day or, I guess a third option, the two workouts just don't mix and if you're doing one shouldn't do the other. Thanks! Jul 24, 2012 at 11:42
  • @AlexFlorescu - What I mean is, I see no need to train them separately at all. Period. If you are lifting weights and being active on a regular basis, then your SITS muscles are being trained as well. Unless you have a deficiency or other indicator that signals a need for it, they get enough training through your regular routine. But, if you are going to train them specifically, I would do it separate from your upper body routine, or at the least do them last. You don't want your stabilizer muscles fatigued when you are going to do your heavier upper body sets.
    – JohnP
    Jul 24, 2012 at 14:25

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