The Buchberger & Telle Shoulder External Rotation

The typical side-lying dumbbell external rotation overloads the middle of the range. If you use a resistance tube, it overloads the end of the range. Well, there’s a way to overload the start of the range. I learned it from shoulder specialist Dr. Dale Buchberger, and thus I coined it the “Buchberger External Rotation.” Simply lean back while performing a side-lying dumbbell external rotation. In this position, a greater overload occurs in the bottom (or start) of the range. By inserting this movement periodically into your training, it will promote a more balanced strength development throughout the entire range of motion.

Another way to accomplish that goal without the use of cables is with a movement I call the “Telle External Rotation” named after the late exercise scientist Jerry Telle. Think of a regular side-lying dumbbell external rotation, but instead of moving the weight around your body, you move your body around the weight! By keeping the forearm parallel to the ground and rolling your body forward and backward, maximum overload can be achieved at every point of the movement.

The common notion is that shoulder external rotation exercises are useful for injury rehabilitation only. Not true! If you bring up the strength of these small rotator cuff muscles, not only can it help prevent future shoulder injury, but it can help boost your pushing and pulling strength significantly. Here’s an example of how you can incorporate these movements into an upper body routine:

A1. Lean-Away Pull-Up: 4 x 6-8 @ 5010, 90s
A2. Buchberger External Rotation: 4 x 10-12 @ 3010, 90s
B1. 50-Degree Incline Barbell Press: 4 x 6-8 @ 5010, 90s
B2. Telle External Rotation: 4 x 8-10 @ 2121, 90s
C1. Bent-Over EZ-Bar Row: 3 x 12-15 @ 2010, 10s
C2. Close-Grip Push-Up: 3 x 15-20 @ 1010, 180s
D1. Standing Supinating Rope Curl: 3 x 8-10 @ 3010, 10s
D2. Lying Pronating Dumbbell Triceps Extension: 3 x 10-12 @ 2010, 120s

Give that routine a shot. Do it twice a week for a month.

For more rotator cuff options, check out my article Strong and Healthy Shoulders.

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