Exercises to Work the Supraspinatus

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Include exercises for the supraspinatus muscle in your shoulder routine to protect a very important joint. This muscle helps keep the integrity of your shoulder joint when you move your arm. It is located on the upper portion of your shoulder blade. As part of the rotator cuff, the supraspinatus muscle helps to press your arm bone down and into your joint cavity. Peter Ronai, an ACSM registered clinical exercise physiologist, advises that your rotator cuff muscles are vital in offsetting the destabilizing forces from your lats, pecs and deltoids.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Add this exercise to your routine as it directly works your supraspinatus muscle. Its primary movement is to abduct your arm bone or move the arm bone away from your body.

Stand with a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, knees bent and feet 3 inches apart. Suck your navel toward your spine, breathing normally. Stick your chest out to broaden your shoulders. With both elbows slightly bent, arms at your sides, bring both dumbbells to shoulder height. Hold for two seconds; then lower the weight until your arms touch your rib cage. Really focus on the small muscle creating this movement. Repeat for two sets, 12 to 15 repetitions per set. Gradually work up to two sets, increasing the repetitions to 20 reps.

One-Arm Dumbbell Upright Rows

Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Suck your navel toward your spine as you breath normally. Push your chest out to broaden your shoulders. Hold an 8-pound dumbbell in your right hand, palm brushing against the front of your right thigh. Keep your left hand against your left thigh for stability. Allow your right palm to graze your clothing as you raise the dumbbell to shoulder level, elbow out to your right side, just above your right shoulder. The angle between your arm and rib cage is 110 to 115 degrees. Repeat on each side for two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Gradually work up to two sets, increasing the repetitions to 20 reps.

Alternating Band Lateral Raises

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Use a low-resistance exercise band with handles to do alternating lateral raises. Unlike dumbbells, the band provides resistance throughout the entire movement.

Place your right foot on the band, grabbing a handle in each hand. Situate your left foot 6 inches apart and halfway behind your right foot. Using a four-second tempo, raise your right hand out to your right side, stopping at shoulder level. Return it to starting position, also using a four-second tempo. Repeat for the left arm. Continue to alternate arms for two sets of eight repetitions each arm. Build your endurance to two sets of 15 repetitions.