How to build an inexpensive shoulder/rotator cuff exerciser

As you probably know by know PaleoPathologist is into high intensity, superslow style weightlifting. My internet buddy Drew Baye asked me about a piece of equipment I made called an Infimetric Bar. PaleoPathologist cobbled together two of them, one for deltoid work and one for rotator cuff work.


The rotator cuff bar is on the left and the longer delt bar on the right. Delt bar could also be used overhead for tricep or bicep work. Basically to do the delt bar, pull outward and slowly raise one arm while resisting with the other. You’ll feel it in the delts. You can hit various parts of the delts by leaning forward and back. To do the medial/anterior rotators, try to compress the bar between your hands and slowly move the bar back and forth, rotating at the shoulder (not the waist.) For the posterior/lateral cuff, try to pull the bar apart and do the same movement.

I’ve tried doing 30 seconds at perceived 50%, then 30 at 75%, then 30 at 100%, and also have done 45 sec at 50%, 30 at 75%, and the final 15 sec at 100%. I seem to like the 45/30/15 a bit more, since doing 100% effort for 30 seconds kind of sucks actually.

To build these, get some 1/2″ PVC pipe at your local hardware store. Try to get the thicker walled pipe. Get two 90 degree elbow joints for each bar you want to build.


I cut four inch-long handles but I’m not a huge dude so you could add half an inch or so. I wouldn’t suggest too much more; the leverage if you hold at the end MIGHT be a problem.

The center bar for my rotator is 17″. I just held a ruler up and held my arms out in front of me in a neutral position to figure out the measurement. The delt bar is 36″ long.

You’ll need some PVC cement and a file or sandpaper, as well as a saw to cut the pipe. It’s soft and easy to cut.

Cut out your 2 handles per bar and your center bars. Follow the directions on the PVC glue. I suggest putting the handles into the L joint first; when the glue seizes it happens fast and that’s it. Then glue one of the handles to one end of bar. The only trick is aligning the two handles which I did by resting the whole assembly on a table.

Cost is about, oh five bucks.

What exercise equipment have you put togetber?