The 7 Most Important Exercises For Rotator Cuff Pain

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

7 Most Important Exercises For Rotator Cuff Pain

Do you have rotator cuff pain or shoulder pain?


Which exercises do I need for rotator cuff pain?


Do I need surgery for a rotator cuff pain?


The good news is most of you can avoid surgery by doing the exercises below.  These exercises will help most people that have rounded cuff pain. If you continue to have rotator cuff pain consult your chiropractor for more specific exercises.


The first three exercises will start helping you with your rounded shoulders. For the full article click Fixing Your Rounded Shoulders in 7 Easy Steps


Exercise # 1: Stretch your Lats

  • Reach up with both hands
  • Reach to the side as far as you can go
  • You should feel the stretch from the upper arm to the torso
  • Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.

Exercise #2: Stretch your Subscapularis

Subscapularis Stretch For Rotator Cuff Pain



  • Take a broom handle and bring your arm back like you are a baseball pitcher or cricket bowler into external rotation.
  • Your elbow should be out to the side and not out in front of your body.
  • Stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Be gentle with this exercise
  • Don’t do this if you have dislocated your shoulder before.

Exercise #3: Stretch Your Pec Minor

Pec Minor Stretch For Rotator Cuff PainPec Minor Stretch For Rotator Cuff Pain

  1. Bring your arm out to your side with your elbow bent 90 degrees.
  2. Move your body forward with your feet. When you feel the stretch on the front of your shoulder bring your arm up higher 3 to 4 inches.
  3. Stretch for 30 seconds to one minute.
  4. You can rotate your body out if you need more of a stretch but that’s optional.

Exercise #4 Triceps Stretch To Externally Rotate Your Shoulder.

Externally Rotate Your Shoulder For Rotator Cuff Pain


  1. Bring your hand behind your head.
  2. Use the opposite arm to push down on the elbow like the picture above.

Exercise #5 Theraband Shoulder External Rotation For Rotator Cuff Pain

External Rotators Exercises For Rotator Cuff Pain:

  1. Attach a resistance band to a stationary object.
  2. Hold resistance band with your affected hand and keep your wrist straight.
  3. Holding on to Theraband with your elbow tight against your body and your hand in front around the navel. Elbow is bent 90 degrees.
  4. Use your elbow as a pivot point and bring your hand outward until your hand is facing the opposite direction.
  5. Keep your wrist straight and don’t rotate your body.
  6. Do 3 sets of 15.

Exercise #6 Theraband Shoulder External Rotation For Rotator Cuff Pain

High Rows With External Rotation Starting Position: Dr Ken Nakamura Downtown Toronto Chiropractor | Toronto Chiropractor BestHigh Rows With External Rotation: Dr Ken Nakamura Downtown Toronto Chiropractor | Toronto Chiropractor Best

This exercise helps you strengthen the muscles that pull your shoulder blades together and the external rotators.

  • Tie your resistance band around a sturdy object.
  • Pull the band at the same level as your eyes.
  • Keep your abs and butt tight and stand straight without moving or arching your back. ( I am arching my back in the picture so that’s wrong, which is a common mistake)
  • Bring your shoulder blades together as if you were squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades.
  • Next externally rotate your shoulders so your forearms are vertical, like the picture above.
  • Do 3 sets of 20 for a total of 60. As you get stronger try to work your way up to 50 repetitions per set.

Exercise #7 Dumbbell Shoulder External Rotation For Rotator Cuff Pain

Rotor cuff - External Rotation







  • Lie on your side with your whole body straight with both shoulders even.
  • Use a lightweight dumbbell from 5-10lbs to start.
  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand. Keep the wrist straight.
  •  Raise dumbbell towards the ceiling while keeping the elbow as the pivot point for your arm movement.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 for each side.


Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. If you have any questions I this downtown Toronto Chiropractor will do his best to answer your questions in the comments section of this blog.


Picture Reference

#1 Feature Picture: Photo by Makhmutova Dina on Unsplash

#2 Exercise

#3 Exercise

#4 Exercise

#5 Exercise


Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

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