exercises for rotator cuff

Injuries are simply part of life.

There is no way to avoid them unless you live in a bubble and never leave.

When it comes to shoulder injuries, one of the most common is damage to your rotator cuff.

But here’s the thing…

In order to overcome this specific injury, all you need to do is perform rotator cuff exercises every other day and your shoulder pain will be gone a lot sooner than you think.

I bet you never knew this!

And what’s even better…

Is that you can do these movements at home without shelling a single dime on expensive medical treatment.

Any Medical Professional, Doctor, Physio or Personal Fitness trainer will all agree that without a strengthening program, your shoulder will simply not get better!

And this does not only apply for rotator cuff injuries, this applies to any other kind of repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, frozen elbow, etc.

If you are like most people, you’ve probably already done a little research on what works best for your shoulder injury.

Am I right?

And I’m will to bet that some sites told you to take medication and apply ice to your shoulder for pain relief.

While I do agree that these type of symptomatic treatments are fine in the short term, they are by no means a long term solution…

Which is what you really need.

The intention behind this article is to provide you with the Top 10 most effective exercises that you can begin this very minute which will help build the strength back up in your shoulder and stop your pain at the same time.

Are you in?

Ok – let’s get to it!

First of all, I am going to show you the basic exercises and then show you some advanced ones.

Basic Exercises

Prone Rowing with Weight

prone rowing with weight

Here’s how to do this exercise correctly:

  • Lie face down on a table, bench or stability ball, with your arm hanging over
    the edge
  • Move your arm backwards with the elbow bent and the shoulders squeezed
    together, in a rowing movement, while holding a lightweight dumbbell
  • Lower your arm in a slow, controlled movement until your elbow is straight
  • Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.

standing rowing with tubing

  • Attach the tubing to a sturdy object so that the handles or ends are an even
    distance from the point of attachment
  • Stand with your legs roughly shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and bent
  • Start with light resistance on the tubing and pull it back towards your body
    as you squeeze your shoulder blades and keep your upper arms tight to your
  • Hold the position for about 1 second and in a controlled movement return
    your arms to the original position.
  • Do 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions

Note:  By doing a low row this way, you will always have some amount of tension in the tubing.

It starts with less tension, increases and then decreases again.

It also has the added benefit of working both arms at the same time.

You can also check out this article which has a ton of exercises as well for shoulder injuries.

Press Ups

press ups

This exercise is more advanced and hence more difficult (Avoid it if it is painful).

If you find it hard on your wrists, you can place folded towels or several thick books on a chair and place hands on them.

This will make your elbows bend slightly, providing a mechanical advantage to initiate the movement while pushing down on the books or towels.

  • Extend your arms and lift your torso off the seat/table
  • Your elbow straightening should create some lift and then by lowering your
    shoulders you should get even more resistance
  • Do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions


Dumbbell Punch to Ceiling

dumbbell punch to ceiling

Choose a set of dumbbells with a weight you can comfortably use.

You can start out just using water bottles if you don’t have dumbbells.

  • Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent or with legs straight out
  • Make sure that your arms are held at a 80 to 85 degree angle
  • Push the dumbbells you are holding towards the ceiling, keeping your wrist straight
  • If you are doing it correctly, your shoulders will come off the floor
  • When they do so, hold the position a moment and then, controlling the movement, return your arms to the original position
  • Do 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions

Box Step Up

box step up


Place a cooking pot(at least 6 inches in height), low box or step on the floor.

  •  Get in position to do push ups, next to the box
  • Push up onto the pot, with one arm first and then the other
  • When you are on the pot with both arms, round your back towards the ceiling
  • Lower yourself back to the starting position
  • Work up to being able to do 2 sets of 20 repetitions


plank exercise


  • Using a solid surface, position yourself on your elbows and toes
  • Lift your torso, so that your back becomes flat when stabilized by tightening your abdominals
  • Hold 15 seconds
  • Increase hold time by 15 second increments
  • Work up to 60 second holds
  • Do 2 sets to fatigue

Side Raise at 85 Degrees with External Rotation

side raise with external rotation

This exercise will improve posture through strengthening the middle trapezius, lower trapezius and rhomboids.

  •  Using either a stability ball, bench or table, lie flat on your stomach
  • Holding water bottle(weights), with your arm hanging downwards toward the floor, slowly raise and rotate your arms outward until they are almost parallel with the floor
  • Lift your arms 85° away from your body, your thumbs should be facing the ceiling
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a moment
  • Return your arms to the original position slowly and with control
  • Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Shoulder Shrugs

shoulder shrugs


This exercise is in order to strengthen the upper trapezius.

  • Stand straight holding water bottle(dumbbells if you have them) at your sides
  • Lift shoulders, straight up as if shrugging. Do not roll shoulders backward or forward, this could cause more problems
  • Do 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions, once a week
  • You can choose to use dumbbells, which are more than 4% of your body weight with this exercise
  • Perform movement slowly and smoothly throughout the entire movement

Advanced Exercises

As an extra bonus, I wanted to show 2 advanced exercises that can dramatically help accelerate your healing time.

External Rotation from Side-Lying Position

external rotation lying on side


  • Lie on the floor or a table with your affected shoulder facing up.
  • Support your head with your hand
  • Use a pillow or rolled towel between your torso and your affected arm
  • Maintain your elbow on the pillow with your arm bent at about 90 degrees
  • Lift your arm in an external rotation, lower it and repeat
  • This exercise can also be done using tubing
  • Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Shoulder Extension with External Rotation

shoulder extension external rotation
It’s important that in order to do this exercise properly that your arm is able to hang freely.

  • So get face down on a table with your affected arm hanging down perpendicular to your body
  • Grab a water bottle for weight resistance or even a tin of food
  • Slowly begin to bring your arm backwards and up towards the ceiling
  • Come up as far as you can without pain
  • When you’ve reached the top, slowly bring your arm back down to starting position
  • Perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Here’s the thing when to trying to overcome your injury.

It doesn’t matter how strong you are or how much weight you can lift.

When it comes to building the strength back up in your shoulder…

It’s all about high repetitions and not so much weight.

The four muscles that make your rotator cuff are only small.

Forcing high repetitions when doing the exercises helps improve and drive much needed blood into these muscles.

As you can see from the pictures, I am only using a water bottle for resistance.

That’s all you really need, especially early on in your recovery phase.

Know you are probably wondering…

How often should I do these movements?

Every other day will work fine.

If you can do them everyday, then go for it but…

For the majority of rotator cuff sufferers, every two or three days is enough.

Something else I want to make you aware of.

Shelling out a ton of money on treatment is absolutely not necessary.

For some strange reason, people think that you can buy your way out of injuries.

This is not the case.

To be brutally honest with you …

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I forked out over $700 trying to get rid of my injury only to discover that all these so called traditional treatments did, was take away my money and not my pain.

So I am here to warn you…

Don’t make the same mistakes I did when it comes to your recovery.

So let me ask you this one last question.

Are you serious about getting rid of your rotator cuff injury and shoulder pain for good?

Of course you are!

Then check out the video below where you will get 4 simple, step-by-step techniques that you can do from the comfort of your own home …

That will take away your shoulder pain and strengthen your shoulder so you never have to experience this again.

Just click on the green button below and see for yourself.

Click here to watch video


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