Rotator cuff muscles

The rotator cuff muscles are a group of 4 muscles that help to stabilise the shoulder joint. (Actually I was surprised to find out that there is more than one joint in the shoulder: the glenohumeral joint which is what people think of when talking about the shoulder joint and another one called the AC joint or the acrimioclavicular joint which is actually above the Glenohumeral joint and joins the acrimion and the clavicle. Its the hard bony bit right at the edge of the shoulder, you can find it if you trace a finger from your clavicle outwards. )

Anyway! you can remember the rotator cuff muscles with the acronym SITS:
Supraspinatus -initiates the abduction of the humerus
Infraspinatus – externally rotates arm (a.k.a. lateral rotation)
Teres Minor – externally rotates arm (a.k.a. lateral rotation)
Subscapularis – internal rotation of the arm (a.k.a. medial rotation)

So when you start to lift your arm to the sides in Virabhadasana 2, the Supraspinatus helps your deltoid muscles to lift the arm out to the side. Usually our palms are facing the floor in this asana. If we were to rotate our arms so that our thumbs face downwards, then we are activating our subscapularis as we are internally rotating our arms. Turn out the arms the other way, until our palms face upward, then our infraspinatus and teres minor is working.

In this manner, it can be possible to isolate which of the rotator cuff muscles of a student is the one that is problematic and help the student strengthen or stretch it so that their shoulder joint can become more stable and prevent injury!

Aini Az
200Hr Yoga TTC(Weekend)