This Functionally Fit feature is third in a series of exercises you can use to maximize shoulder functionality and health. Visit our archives and continue to check out our E-News to view the entire series as well as all Functionally Fit exercises. This week features the standing shoulder scaption.
Stand with slightly bent knees, holding the dumbbells in such a way that your thumbs are on top of the dumbbells. Keeping the arms in the scapular plane (30° to 45° forward of the frontal plane of the body), raise the arms to shoulder height.

Pause at the top, and slowly lower to the start position.

Keep the elbows straight throughout and avoid any painful range of motion. Perform two sets of 15-20 reps.

This exercise is ideal for strengthening the supraspinatus muscle of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four small muscles, but the most commonly injured muscle is the supraspinatus. Over the years, many universities have taught an "empty can" exercise to strengthen the supraspinatus; however, EMG studies now indicate that scaption (thumb up) is just as effective as the empty can (thumb down) maneuver in activating the supraspinatus. More importantly, scaption avoids internal rotation of the humerus ââ


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