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  • Writer's pictureCoach Matt Pippin

2 Simple Exercises For Rotator Cuff Issues

The dreaded rotator cuff injury…

If you love lifting upper body, throwing, swimming, or pretty much any upper body activity, rotator cuff issues are probably going to show up but it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m here to tell you that you can stop doing pointless banded “therapy exercises.” In today’s coaching I’ll show you how you can say “bye-bye” to those pesky rotator cuff issues.


The reason the rotator cuff is always getting injured is because you’re asking your shoulder to perform an action it doesn’t have the prerequisites for. And then you’re trying to add load or go into a position you’re not capable of, which…surprise surprise, creates a bigger problem.

For example, all you benchers or squatters out there, if you have a hard time getting your arms back without weight, and now you add weight, you’re going to have a problem. Or if you’re a swimmer and you have a hard time being able to place both your arms over your head with ease, you’re going to have a problem.


If your shoulder doesn't have the prerequisites to do the job we're asking it to do, how do we get them? We use isometrics for rotation of the shoulder. Typically lack of internal rotation is the biggest culprit, so we’re going attack that in two simple steps:

  • Strengthen the joint and tissue around it at your end range of motion

  • Move the joint at your end range of motion

What is Internal Range of Motion of the Shoulder?

Internal range of motion of your shoulder is the ability to pull the arm in toward the midline of the body. Lacking the ability to do that can cause a whole slew of problems, including rotator cuff issues.

A lot people are ok with external rotation, which is pulling the arm out away from the midline of the body, but the key for healthy, pain-free shoulders is that internal rotation piece.


Now that we know internal rotation is the key to relieving rotator cuff pain, I have two exercises that will strengthen and move the tissue around the shoulder joint.

To be transparent with you, I tried listing out the steps for how to perform each exercise but it's so nuanced that I think it's best for you to watch the coaching video above so you can follow along safely.

Exercise #1: Shoulder Isometrics

The first exercise we're going to use to relieve your rotator cuff issue is shoulder isometrics, which is a contraction where nothing moves, but we still get some work done in the tissue of the shoulder without creating inflammation. I know the phrase "isometric exercise" sounds old school but they have been a serious game changer and a secret weapon for relieving pain with me and my clients.

Exercise #2: Shoulder Capsular CARs

Once we strengthen the shoulder joint, we want to move it so we can utilize the new ranges of motion in a controlled manner that will keep your nervous system feeling safe. That's where this exercise comes in.

Both of these exercises may seem simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective. The fact is, make the joints do what they’’re meant to do and good things start to happen.


You can perform both of these exercises every single day. For progressions start to increase the duration of the isometrics to 3 sets of 15 seconds after two weeks, then 3*20, and eventually 3*30. For the rotations continue with just 10 reps.


If you enjoyed today’s coaching and want the full system to relieve pain, then join me for the Healthy Shoulders 10 Day Challenge. It’s time to make lasting change and I’ll show you how. Just go to to learn more.

How to relieve shoulder pain



Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change.


  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)

  • Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor

  • Weck Method Qualified


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