Supraspinatus Tendon Rehab - will this Work??

How are you doing with the deep-dive into the Rotator Cuff?? Hope you can do a few more reps with me ;)

Our last idea about Supraspinatus rehab is "That resisted External Rotation exercises with arm by your side will strengthen Supraspinatus (in addition to the obvious benefits to the Infraspinatus and Teres Minor)”…. well, what do you think?

Hmmm I know that MOST therapists actually use this exercise for MOST shoulder problems, but I have a few concerns: 

  • How come nearly every shoulder problem needs external rotation work? Do they all have weak external rotators? I’m not convinced at all that this exercise does much direct good for Supraspinatus, although it might help it secondarily as it has to work to hold the head of humerus depressed during the external rotation.

And it might actually be harmful to rotator cuff function, because it is all about HOW it is done.

So if this exercise is do any good at all for the shoulder, it fully depends on one key ingredient:

  • External Rotation is deeply connected to Scapular Retraction…the two need to happen in perfect timing, or all hell breaks loose in the shoulder. Look closely at this diagram:

Better still! Stop and do this on yourself - squeeze your shoulder gently forward, or even just hold your shoulder still, as you externally rotate.

NEXT, as you do external rotation, really focus on scapular retraction during the movement. 

Feel the massive difference? Much smoother and the range is much greater. 

Hence, the
main focus of the drill should be on timing Scapular Retraction with the movement above. Stop the External Rotation at the point when Scapular Retraction can’t go any further. That’s what today’s video is about!

Or else the exercise is hurting your shoulder.

This client is doing a pretty good job of it (watch the point of the shoulder):
  • If the client has a scapula that is sitting in anterior tilt or downward rotation even a little too much, then I fear that Supraspinatus tendon is being rubbed and frictioned during the movement under the Acromion Process.

  • And lastly if there is even a little laxity and anterior shear in the glenohumeral joint, then this will be exacerbated as you externally rotate. NOT good!

So in summary for External Rotation to do any good for a shoulder, try something like in our video to really stress the Scapular Retraction during the movement. Here’s the video before it goes into the Rehab Vault (which by the way has had a lot of  videos added recently, and an improved Search Engine put in!):

Here’s to your best shoulder movement!


Oh, a QUICK QUIZ for next week! Why do so many people put a rolled towel to be squeezed between elbow and trunk like in the above photo..any idea? See who is the smarty pants out there ;)) - I’ll let you now next week, but if you want the answer go back to that article on Rotator Cuff Rehab I gave you the link to a couple of newsletters ago.. 

GRAB The Vault for $1 before the deal closes - a heap more videos were added just 3 days ago, to add to it over 10 years of rehab videos, PDF's and articles all at your finger tips when you need them most: