Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation and Stretching Exercises

Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation and Stretching Exercises

Side-Lying External Rotation

  • Lie down on the side opposite your injured arm.
  • Bend the elbow of your injured arm to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest across your abdomen.
  • Hold a light dumbbell and, keeping your elbow against your side, slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm if you feel strain.
  • Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds before returning to the start position with your arm down.
  • Repeat 3 sets of 10 up to 3 times a day. Increase reps to 20 when 10 becomes easy.


High-to-Low Rowsscreen-shot-2016-12-30-at-2-28-21-pm

  • Attach a resistance band to something sturdy at or above shoulder height. Be sure it is securely held so it doesn’t come lose when you pull on it.
  • Get down on one knee so the knee opposite your injured arm is raised. Your body and lowered knee should be aligned. Rest your other hand on your raised knee.
  • Holding the band securely with your arm outstretched, pull your elbow toward your body. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm.
  • Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10.

Single Arm Shoulder Extension

  • Begin in a standing position holding one end of a resistance band with your arm straight in front of your body. You should be facing the anchor point.
  • Pull your arm down to your side against the resistance band, then return to start and repeat.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises

  • Begin with one end of the band securely attached at waist-height. (You may place a towel roll under your arm as well.)
  • Grasp the other end of the band with tension.
  • Pull the band away from the wall, rotating your forearm outward
  • Hold and slowly return.
  • TIP: Be sure to keep your forearm parallel to the ground, your elbow by your side, and your wrist straight.

Crossover Arm Stretch

  • Relax your shoulders and gently pull one arm across your chest as far as possible, holding at your upper arm.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other arm.

Repetitions: 4 each side.

Rotator Cuff Stretch


  • This stretch will stretch different muscles in both shoulders simultaneously
  • Sit tall on a firm chair or bench
  • Hold TheraBand in one hand
  • Reach this arm up tall towards the ceiling
  • Bend at the elbow, let the hand and strap drop down behind your neck
  • Avoid pushing your head forward with this hand
  • Bend your other arm up behind your back and grasp the strap
  • Reposition your head, neck, and spine until you are relaxed again
  • Gradually work your bottom hand up towards your top hand
  • Pause and relax whenever necessary
  • Hold
  • To come out of the stretch, first release the grip with your bottom hand
  • Return the top arm to starting position
  • Repeat on the other side

Rotator Cuff, Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Image 1

  • Hold onto the doorway with one hand at shoulder height.
  • Step 3 feet out of the room or until your arm is fully straight.
  • Turn your hips until you feel the stretch across your chest.
  • Rotate your arm so that the pit of your elbow is facing up.
  • Hold this stretch for 3 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.




Image 2

Image 2

  • Bend your elbows to form a goal post shape
  • Grab onto the doorway with both hands, pressing your elbows into the sides.
  • Lean forward until you feel the stretch across your chest.
  • Hold this stretch for 5 deep breaths.

Image 3

  • Stand right in the middle of the doorway.
  • Place your hands on either side.
  • Tuck your elbows behind your back.
  • Take mini steps forward until you feel a stretch in your rotator cuffs (deep in your shoulders).
  • Hold this stretch for 5 deep breaths.


The more you repeat the above exercise the stronger and more flexible your rotator cuff and shoulders will become.

If you find it sore or uncomfortable when performing the exercises just ease back a little and slowly increase the exercises to what is manageable and comfortable.


Chris Tompson

Chris Tompson