The 7 best exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff

Whenever we climb, practice tennis, lift weights or perform any similar activity, we put our shoulders under pressure and wear, whose consequences we see sooner or later.

The rotator cuff, a muscle group in the shoulder, is one of the most affected areas: every year thousands of people go to the doctor for pain or tightness in the upper muscles and an average of 1 in 5 of these cases are due To tearing in this area.

These cases only become more and more common over the years, as we approach old age, which seek exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff  is more than necessary if we want to perform a host of activities that depend on it.

The best exercises to train the rotator cuff

  • What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a term used to group four muscles responsible for stabilizing the glen humeral joint: the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the small round and the subscapular.

Thanks to these four muscles the shoulder becomes one of the zones the body with greater capacity of movement and elasticity of the human body; but this advantage can be a double-edged sword, since with more freedom of movement there is more wear and more risk of injury.

When we have a bad posture or do exercises that demand a lot from our shoulders, rotator cuff stops working properly. When this happens, the humerus (bone that joins the shoulder and elbow) moves. This causes tension in the front of the shoulder, and if it is not remedied, we can end an injury. This happens more often than anyone can imagine.

Strengthen rotator cuff muscles

7 exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff

The rotator cuff muscles work like other body muscles. This means that for them to function correctly, we must condition them with exercises of flexibility, strength and stability, and not only with the internal and external rotation exercises to which we are accustomed.

These are the 7 best exercises to strengthen these muscles.

  1. Angel against the wall

The angel against the wall is an exercise in flexibility that tests the posture of your shoulders and back. This means that if it is extremely easy to do, you either have very good posture or you are doing it wrong. Pay attention to how it is done:


Start standing, with your head, upper and lower back resting against the wall and with your feet about 12 cm forward.

Bending your shoulders to the sides, support the arms on the wall, so that your arms make full contact with the surface.

Without detaching yourself from the wall, raise your hands above your head, making them slide down the surface from top to bottom.

Perform this exercise for one minute, twice a day.

  1. External rotation with elastic band

This is an exercise of force that works in isolation rotator cuff. For its execution to be adequate, it must be done in a neutral way, so you may want to run it first without the elastic band, until you get used to the movement.


Put an elastic band at the approximate height of your navel, and stand on the side of its support, holding it with the opposite hand.

Keeping your elbow firm on your side, stretch the band from the inside out.

Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions each.

  1. External rotation at 90 ° of abduction

You can perform this exercise first without weight or with a very light weight. Once the movement is natural, you can proceed to run it with the elastic band.


Put a rubber band at about chest height.

Hold the band handle with your right hand, also raising the elbow at shoulder height.

Before performing the movement, apply light pressure with your shoulder blades and abdomen.

Stretch the band, so that you carry your forearm as far back as you can, but try not to bend your wrist.

It slowly returns to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each.

  1. Forearm sliding against the wall

Mixing resistance in the arms with a job in the posture, this exercise is one of the best to work the shoulders.


Lean against a wall, with an elastic resistance band around your forearms.

The forearms should be open to the width of your shoulders and fully supported on the wall.

Without detaching yourself from the wall, begin to slide your forearms up and then back down.

Perform the movement again and again for 30 seconds, for a total of 3 sets.

  1. Inverted Rows

The exercise of invested Rowing is one of the best for the upper body: the force that this exercise gives your trapezius, triceps and others, will help you have better posture and stronger rotator cuff .


Holding two TRX strips or the bar of a squatting machine let yourself hang with your arms extended and open to the width of your shoulders.

Bending your elbows, rise until your chest touches the bar. Your abdomen and buttocks should have a slight pressure as you perform the movement.

Return to the starting position and complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

  1. Elevated iron with displacement of weight

This elevated iron exercise not only causes your rotator cuff to struggle to stabilize the shoulder, but also works the anterior serratus, stabilizer of the scapula and abs. You move a weight from one point to another; also develop resistance in the infraspinatus muscle.


Start with a heavy iron, with a dumbbell or kettlebell right next to your right hand.

Move your left arm to the weight, lift it and leave it outside, next to your left arm.

Repeat the movement in reverse, with the right arm.

Perform the movement for 30 seconds, until completing 3 sets.

  1. Turkish Uprising

This exercise is ideal for working the shoulders together, applying strength and stability in a coupled movement.


Start on the floor face up, holding a kettlebell with one arm extended up. The leg on the side with which you are holding the kettlebell should be flexed.

Extend the trunk diagonally, supporting the forearm of the free arm.

Lift the trunk, passing the point of support to the free arm hand.