Rotator cuff issues can cause pain and difficulty moving the shoulder and arm. Injuring the rotator cuff is a common issue for people who do lots of repetitive arm movements, especially if these movements are over the head. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help treat issues with the four muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff. One of the most effective options is to seek rotator cuff rehab from a physical therapist, and there are two rotator cuff rehab exercises a physical therapist might recommend. 

1.  Pendulum exercise

The pendulum exercise is one highly recommended rotator cuff rehab exercise. It’s usually included in the initial stages of a physical therapy program, and this exercise is designed to gently move and stretch your rotator cuff. 

How to do the pendulum exercise

  • The only equipment you need to do the pendulum exercise is a sturdy table. Alternatively, you can use another stable flat surface like a kitchen counter. 
  • Place your unaffected hand on the table or counter, and lean forward slightly. Allow your arm to hang down freely. 
  • Move your upper body slightly so that your arm swings back and forth slightly. After swinging it back and forth about 10 times, move the upper body so that the affected arm swings side to side about 10 times. Then move your body so that the arm moves in clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Try to complete 10 circles in each direction. 
  • Your goal should be to do two or three sets of this exercise every day during your recovery. 


2.  Passive internal rotation

Stretching the subscapularis muscle at the front of your affected shoulder can help speed up your rotator cuff recovery. One rotator cuff rehab exercise that a physical therapist can use to stretch this muscle is passive internal rotation.

How to do the passive internal rotation exercise

  • For this rotator cuff rehab exercise, you’ll need a light stick to hold on to. A yardstick is one option that many people use, but a dowel rod or short broom handle can also work. 
  • Start by holding the stick behind your back with the affected hand with your palm facing backward. Then grab the stick with the other hand. 
  • Using your uninjured arm, slowly pull sideways on the stick until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your injured shoulder. Don’t pull so hard that it causes you pain.
  • Try to hold this stretch for about 30 seconds; then relax for 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat the stretch three to five times in total. 

Rotator cuff rehab can be found at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Our physical therapy specialists can do a lot to help you treat an injured rotator cuff. We can perform a free screening to determine how your rotator cuff has been injured. Our team can also build you a personalized treatment plan that includes helpful rotator cuff rehab exercises and other therapy methods like: 

Do you want to take the next step to get our help with an injured rotator cuff? Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.