Dumbbell external shoulder rotation exercise
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Dumbbell external shoulder rotation

Exercise details

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

Starting position

  1. Stand behind an inclined bench that is slightly lower than shoulder height.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in one hand with an overhand (pronated) grip.
  3. Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle and place your elbow on the bench so that you are holding the dumbbell in front of you (with one end of the dumbbell facing you and the other facing front).
  4. Keeping your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, lower the dumbbell by rotating your shoulder internally. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor.


  1. Maintaining the angle of your elbow, exhale as you externally rotate your shoulder to raise the dumbbell until your forearm is upright.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • Use the dumbbell external shoulder rotation to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and improve shoulder health.
  • This exercise is especially good for people who have muscle-strength imbalances between their internal shoulder rotators and external shoulder rotators. Most exercise programs focus more on strengthening the internal rotators than the external rotators so it is important to perform exercises such as this!
  • Keep your shoulders down and level, and your torso upright throughout the exercise. If you are unable to do so, your dumbbell is too heavy. Use a lighter dumbbell.
  • To target the infraspinatus, see also the cable external shoulder rotation and the dumbbell lying external shoulder rotation.
  • Try the dumbbell spell caster and the dumbbell Cuban rotation.

Dumbbell external shoulder rotation


ExRx.net, Shoulder Articulations

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