Cable external shoulder rotation exercise
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Cable external shoulder rotation

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Infraspinatus
  • Synergists: Teres Minor, Posterior Deltoid
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Stand with your side to an elbow-height pulley, holding the stirrup with your far arm.
  2. Lock your elbow by your side and position your forearm across your belly. Your arm should be bent at a 90-degree angle.


  1. Keeping your elbow locked to your side, exhale as you pull the cable away from your body by externally rotating your shoulder.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you return your forearm to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Repeat with your opposite arm.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your elbow locked to your side and bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Place a towel under your elbow. If it drops, it means that you are not keeping your elbow locked to your side.
  • The cable external shoulder rotation exercise has been included in the training programs to promote shoulder health, which makes it very important. Your infraspinatus, teres minor, and posterior deltoid are external shoulder rotators, whereas your latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, teres major, anterior deltoid, and subscapularis are internal shoulder rotators. Unfortunately, most popular training programs strengthen internal shoulder rotators much more than they do external shoulder rotators, with the infraspinatus and teres minor hardly getting any attention. This can lead to a muscle-strength imbalance, which can destabilize the shoulder joint (rotator cuff) and cause pain and injury. Therefore, do not omit this exercise!
  • If you don’t have access to a cable machine, lie on your side and use a dumbbell instead. See the dumbbell lying external shoulder rotation and the dumbbell external shoulder rotation.

Cable external shoulder rotation video


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