How to Improve Shoulder External Rotation

Dec 5, 2023


Welcome to IAOM US, your trusted source for quality chiropractic care and physical therapy services. In this article, we will focus on the importance of shoulder external rotation and provide you with effective techniques and exercises to improve it. Our goal is to help you enhance your shoulder mobility and overall health.

The Significance of Shoulder External Rotation

Shoulder external rotation refers to the rotational movement of the arm away from the body. It is a crucial component of shoulder function, allowing for everyday activities such as reaching overhead, throwing, and even lifting objects. Without proper external rotation, you may experience limitations in movement and potential pain or discomfort in the shoulder joint.

Techniques to Improve Shoulder External Rotation

1. Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises play a key role in improving shoulder external rotation. Here are a few exercises you can try:

  • Passive External Rotation: Sit or stand with your arm against a wall, elbow at 90 degrees. Use your other hand to gently push your forearm away from the wall, increasing external rotation. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Active External Rotation: Begin in the same starting position as the passive external rotation exercise. Instead of using your other hand, actively rotate your forearm away from the wall. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.
  • Shoulder Rotations with Resistance Band: Attach a resistance band to a stationary object at waist level. Hold the band with your affected arm, keeping your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Slowly rotate your arm outward against the resistance of the band. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.

2. Strengthening Exercises

Strength training exercises are essential for improving shoulder external rotation. Incorporate the following exercises into your routine:

  • External Rotation with Dumbbells: Hold a light dumbbell in your hand with your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your forearm against your side, rotate your arm outward, away from your body. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.
  • Resistance Band Pull-Aparts: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a resistance band in front of you with both hands, arms extended at shoulder height. Pull the band apart by externally rotating your shoulders. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
  • Prone External Rotation: Lie face down on a bench or the edge of a bed, allowing your arm to hang off. Hold a light dumbbell and perform an external rotation, keeping your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.

3. Stretching Techniques

Regular stretching can help improve shoulder external rotation by increasing flexibility. Here are a few stretching techniques to consider:

  • Doorway Stretch: Stand in a doorway and place your forearm on the door frame at a 90-degree angle. Gently lean forward, allowing your body to stretch the muscles involved in external rotation. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds on each side.
  • Pectoral Stretch: Stand near a wall or corner. Place your forearm against the wall or corner with your elbow at shoulder height. Slowly lean forward, feeling the stretch in your pectoral muscles. Hold for 15-30 seconds on each side.
  • Upper Trapezius Stretch: Sit or stand tall and gently tilt your head to the side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder. Place your hand on the opposite side of your head and gently pull it further into the stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds on each side.

Seek Professional Assistance

While these techniques can be beneficial, it's important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist, before starting any new exercise program. They will assess your individual condition and guide you on the most appropriate exercises and techniques to improve shoulder external rotation safely.


Improving shoulder external rotation is crucial for maintaining optimal shoulder health and mobility. By incorporating range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and stretching techniques into your routine, you can enhance your shoulder function and reduce the risk of injuries.

At IAOM US, we specialize in providing exceptional chiropractic care and physical therapy services. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping individuals like you achieve optimal health and well-being. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start your journey towards an improved shoulder external rotation.