Briancontinues his Functionally Fit shoulder miniseries with prone horizontalabduction raises. The purpose of this exercise is mainly to strengthen therotator cuff and works great in a rehab program.

See 'RelatedResources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the shoulder series) andother exercises and training tips.


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Initially begin in kneeling position (foradded stability and safety) with the stability ball beneath the chest and armsresting on the ball.

Position the hands so that the thumbs pointup toward the ceiling, and slowly raise both of the arms up simultaneously; pinchthe shoulder blades together at the top. Pause, then slowly return to a pointjust before the weights touch the floor.

The desired cadence would be 1/1/2. Performtwo to three sets of 15-20 reps with a very light set of weights (I typicallyrecommend no more than four percent body weight).

Thisexercise is designed to strengthen the posterior rotator cuff and scapularstabilizers (namely, the middle trapezius and rhomboids). Rotating the thumbsup externally rotates the humerus and increases rotator cuff activation.

This exercise is an integral part of anyrotator cuff rehab/prehab exercise program. The key is not using momentum toraise the weight and performing lower loads and higher repetitions. To increasedifficulty, you may lengthen the pause time at the top and position or consideralternate arm sequences immediately following the traditional reps.

Additional Notes
Do not attemptto force through any shoulder pain. You can modify the exercise by reducingrange of motion and lightening the load. It is also acceptable to perform theexercise in a palm-down fashion, if that is more comfortable for the client.

To increase core stability, have the clientplace their feet shoulder width apart while keeping the knees straight and thelower legs completely off the floor.

Once they master this, you may advance tofeet together.

Just keep in mind the goal is sound executionof the motion. If they struggle on the ball, consider using a flat bench.

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS ( isa licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Hebecame a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In2000, he opened his own personal training and sport-specific conditioningfacility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at severalprofessional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specifictraining.