Alex Simotas, MD

Hospital for Special Surgery
Board Certified Physiatrist
Specializing In Spine & Sports Medicine

Home > Wellness & Exercise > Exercise Groups > Shoulder & Rotator Cuff

Shoulder & Rotator Cuff

Note: Each muscle in the rotator cuff series of exercises can be performed using progressively heavier free weights. A large number of rotations will encourage endurance training.

Exercise 1: Hand Behind Back Towel Stretch

  1. Grasp a towel behind your back with your surgical side being the lower hand.
  2. Gently pull your lower hand up your back.
  3. Hold for 10 count.
  4. Repeat 5 times.
1-hand-behind

Exercise 2: Supraspinatus Strengthening

EXERCISE A

  1. Using a _____ pound weight, keep elbow straight with thumbs toward the floor and the arms forward flexed approximately 30°.
  2. Slowly raise the arm to just below the shoulder level and then slowly back down to the side.
  3. Repeat ______ times.
  4. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
2-A-supra
EXERCISE B: EXTERNAL ROTATORS

  1. Using a _____ pound weight, lie with the opposite side down and the arm at the side.
  2. Slowly raise and lower the weight from the table toward the ceiling as far as possible and the back again.
  3. Repeat ______ times.
  4. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
2-B-external-rotators
EXERCISE C: INTERNAL ROTATORS

  1. Lie on back with the arm at your side.
  2. Allow the weight to slowly fall outward away from the body and slowly back again.
  3. Repeat ______ times.
  4. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
2-C-internal

Exercise 3: Rotator Cuff Stretch With Arm At Side

  1. Using a _____ pound weight, lie down with your arm at your side and the elbow flexed at 90°.
  2. Let the hand fall away from the body.
  3. Use a small free weight (2 to 5 pounds) to pull the arm down gently in this position, gradually stretching the muscle on the front of the shoulder.
  4. Hold this positions for a slow count of 20.
  5. Repeat ______ times.
  6. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
3-rotator

Exercise 4: Rotator Cuff Stretch With Arm At 90°

  1. Using a _____ pound weight, lie down and bring the arm to a right angle (90°) away from the body with the elbow bent away. The shoulder should be just off the edge of the table.
  2. Allow the weight to pull the arm down.
  3. Hold this positions for a count of 10.
  4. Repeat ______ times.
  5. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
4-rotator

Back Muscle Strengthening Exercises

The rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus muscles all attach to the scapula. They are important in the complex gliding and rotatory motions of the scapula that occur during throwing motions.

Exercise 5: Rhomboids Strengthening

  1. Using a _____ pound weight, lie on your stomach and slowly bring the weight from a fully dependent position straight out laterally.
  2. Bring the weight back down gently and slowly.
  3. Repeat ______ times.
  4. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
5-rhomboids

Exercise 6: Trapezius And Latissimus Strengthening

  1. Continue to lie on your stomach, but this time, slowly bring your arm up behind you as far as you can.
  2. Bring the weight back down gently and slowly.
  3. Repeat ______ times.
  4. Do this exercise ______ times per day and _____times per week.
6-trapezius