Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Exercises and Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises

External Rotations with the resistance bands are often used as rotator cuff tendonitis exercises.

Note: The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. If you are currently experiencing pain, it is advised that you consult in person with a licensed professional.

Let me add to the above note to say that every injury in the human body is complex, so you should never self-diagnose or self treat injuries. Here's a brief perspective on how complex rotator cuff tendonitis can be.

Potential Contributors to Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The shoulder joint is complex, but rotator cuff tendonitis is generally the result of over use of the rotator cuff tendons.

The rotator cuff can be affected by overtraining, traumatic injuries, muscle strength imbalances, muscle flexibility imbalances, poor form or technique, poor posture in the shoulder, poor alignment of the neck and mid-back, poor alignment of the hips, stiffness in the ankles, poor scapular stability, compressed nerves in the cervical spine and more.

The body is a chain, and a weakness or problem in one area can be manifested as problems in another area.

Diagnosing and Identifying the "Cause" is a skill developed by licensed health professionals, so it is difficult to lump everyone's situation into one catch all solution.

With that said, there are generally patterns that are expressed in a wide range of people. One of the things that is present most often when some has suffered from rotator cuff tendonitis is weakness of the rotator cuff muscles.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening

Since tendonitis is an overuse injury it is generally recommended to rest and ice when there is active pain with movement.

I will say that rotator cuff strengthening exercises are best done in order to prevent or decrease the likelihood of developing a rotator cuff injury.

In the physical therapy clinic resistance bands are often used to help strengthen the rotator cuff. Resistance bands are great for gently strengthening the rotator cuff.

In addition to resistance bands, you can use light dumbbells to strengthen the rotator cuff. Some people start with 1 or 2 pound dumbbells when they begin a workout program to strengthen the rotator cuff.

Lastly, you can use a cable machine to strengthen your rotator cuff. The cable machine can be adjusted to much higher weights than resistance bands and can further increase the strength of the rotator cuff if resistance bands become too easy.


It is best to consult with a licensed health professional if you have any injury to your shoulder or rotator cuff, before you begin any rotator cuff tendonitis exercises.

Do not try to self-diagnose or self-treat. You may end up doing more harm than good. Getting evaluated by a licensed professional is the best way to find the best rotator cuff tendonitis exercises for your situation.

If you are healthy and have no pain but want to strengthen your rotator cuff, try some of the Rotator Cuff Exercises on this site.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

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