Rotary Cuff Exercises

The four muscles that are responsible for the stability of our shoulder joint are known as the infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis and supraspinatus, together they make up the rotary cuff. Due to the excessive amount of movement one’s shoulder joint undergoes throughout every day, rotary cuff tears are very common. The danger of tearing is further exacerbated as we grow older. Rotary cuff exercises work to rehabilitate and correct rotary cuff tears, some easy one you can try are listed below.

8 Easy and Effective Rotary Cuff Exercises

If the rotary cuff becomes injured, it can lead to impaired movement of your shoulder with discomfort and pain. The following exercises can help to ease and resolve the condition:

Doorway Stretch

1. Stand within an open doorway and grip the sides of the doorway with your arms out wide, below or just at shoulder height.

2. Gently lean forward into the doorway until a light stretch is felt in the front of your shoulders. Ensure to keep your back straight, and that you don’t overstretch.

External Rotation (Side-Lying)

1. Lie on your side which is opposite to that of your injured arm. Place the upper part of your injured arm on your torso and rest your forearm over your abdomen. Hold a light dumbbell in your hand.

2. Slowly lift the dumbbell whilst ensuring that your elbow remains at your side. If any pain is felt, then stop immediately.

3. If no pain is experienced, continue to raise the dumbbell toward upwards until your forearm is pointing toward the ceiling. Hold this position for around ten seconds.

4. Return your forearm to resting position on the abdomen, repeating for ten repetitions, up to three times daily. The repetitions can be doubled if the exercise becomes easy.

High-to-Low Rows

1. Not all rotary cuff exercises require equipment, but for this exercise, a resistance band is required. Once acquired, attach it around something strong at just above shoulder height.

2. Get down onto one knee by placing the knee on the side of your injured arm on the floor, ensuring to align your body and remain straight.

3. Hold the band tightly with your arms stretched outward, and pull your elbows toward your body, ensuring that your back remains straight. You should experience no twisting motions.

4. Return to the starting position and repeat for ten repetitions.

Reverse Fly

1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Ensure that your back is straight, and slightly bend forward, with each arm at the side.

2. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms up and outwards to around shoulder height, but not above, ensuring to bend your elbow slightly whilst doing so.

3. Return to starting position and repeat for ten repetitions.

Lawn Mower Pull

1. This exercise requires the use of equipment. Grab a resistance band and place one end under your foot (opposite to your injured arm), hold the band in your injured arm, so it stretches across the body diagonally.

2. Hold the resistant band with your injured arm over the opposite knee by bending forward slightly; ensure that your other hand remains at your waist and that your knees do not become locked.

3. Next, pull your elbow across your body as you straighten upright, much like the motion of starting a lawnmower. Raise the band upward until you reach your upper rib-cage. As you stand, ensure to push your shoulder blades together.

4. Return to starting position and repeat for ten repetitions.

Arm Circles

1. First, stand up straight, with your feet just apart from each other. Raise your arms out from your side until they are straight and pointing out.

2. Next, slowly rotate your arm in small circular motions forward, and then again backwards.

3. Repeat for twenty rotations.

Shoulder Stretch

1. Stretch one arm across the body and place your other arm over it, just behind the elbow, pulling up tightly.

2. You should feel a slight stretch around the back when in this position, no pain should be experienced.

3. Hold this position for around twenty seconds and repeat three times.

Wall Stretch

1. Standing toward wall, ensuring you can touch the wall easily.

2. Place your injured forearms against wall, so your arm and your body form 90 degree angle.

2. Next, gently walk your finer up the wall as high as possible. This should lead to a slight stretch in the front of the shoulder, no pain should be experienced.

3. Hold this position for around twenty seconds, and repeat three times.

If these are not enough for you, you can get more tips by clicking HERE.


There are numerous rotary cuff exercises that may or may not prove useful to you. If you are experience consistent pain of discomfort and none of the exercises above seems to supply you with any relief, then it may be wise to visit a health care specialist for further analysis and treatment.  

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