Briancontinues his Functionally Fit shoulder miniseries with tubing externalrotation pulls, a great exercise for rehab programs. The purpose of thisexercise is mainly to strengthen the posterior rotator cuff and the lowertrapezius muscle.

    See 'RelatedResources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the shoulder series) andother exercises and training tips.


    Begin in standing holding a Thera-Band ortubing with the elbows positioned at or near the side and bent 90 degrees.

    Maintaining equal tension between the two sides,slowly pull the hands apart by squeezing the shoulder blades down and inward atthe same time.

    Pause for one to two seconds, then slowlyreturn to the starting position. If you need more resistance, simply move thehands closer together or use a stronger band/tube.

    Perform two to three sets of 15-20repetitions.

    Thisexercise is designed to strengthen the posterior rotator cuff (infraspinatusand teres minor) as well as target the lower trapezius muscle. Be sure to avoidshrugging the shoulders upward during the exercise, as this will counteract thedesired downward rotation of the scapula.

    This exercise is an integral part of anyrotator cuff rehab/prehab exercise program. If the band proves to beuncomfortable, modify the exercise by using dumbbells, as this will ofteneliminate pain related to the resistance increasing as the force generation capacityof the muscle decreases, which is a common issue in the presence ofinflammation.

    Additional Notes
    Oneadditional modification would be to move to a side-lying dumbbell externalrotation movement with a small towel placed beneath the arm.


    This is extremely effective in activating theposterior rotator cuff, but in order to maintain strict form, you lose thelower trap component from the original standing version.

    Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS ( is a licensed physicaltherapist, respected author and fitness professional. He became a CertifiedStrength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In 2000, he opened his ownpersonal training and sport-specific conditioning facility, Fitness Edge, inDublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at several professional conferences andseminars on injury prevention and sport-specific training.