Exercise of the Month: Shoulder Internal Rotation

The Shoulder Internal Rotation is an exercise that can help strengthen the rotator cuff, increase overall stability of the shoulder joint, improve range of motion and help prevent injury.

Keeping the shoulder joint healthy is extremely important, and for this reason, adding injury-prevention exercises such as Internal Rotation to your workouts is a smart idea.

Starting position: Using a secured resistance band or cable machine positioned at approximately hip/waist height, bring the upper arm to the side of the body, elbow bent to 90 degrees and forearm out to the side, as shown in Photo 1. Because strength and flexibility of the shoulder joint varies from person to person, do not attempt to force the forearm too far out to the side, rather, to your most comfortable range of motion.

Strengthening phase: While making sure to keep the upper arm in place, slowly begin moving the forearm inward, toward the body (Photo 2). Pause for a second or two and then slowly return to starting position.


While it is normal to experience muscle fatigue, you should never experience pain while performing any exercise. If you have existing shoulder pain or rotator cuff problems, check with your doctor before attempting this exercise.

For maximum benefit, consistency in training is key. In the beginning, start with one to two sets of 10 repetitions per arm daily or every other day to familiarize yourself with proper form. Add sets and/or repetitions gradually as you become stronger.

All rotator cuff exercises should be performed with very light resistance and the movement should be slow and controlled. Using heavy resistance requires use of other muscles and lessens the effectiveness of the exercise.

You can also perform internal rotation in a seated position instead of standing, or while lying on your side on a bench, using a dumbbell for resistance.

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