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How To Strengthen Your Shoulders and Why Most Physical Therapists Get It Wrong

Updated: May 5, 2022

Have you ever been to physical therapy for a shoulder injury? If so, you have probably done the exercise pictured below:

Shoulder strengthening physical therapy exercise injury prevention rotator cuff

Now, you may have done it lying on your side (which research shows actually creates greater rotator cuff activation), but the point of the exercise is similar.(1) You are trying to activate your rotator cuff muscles. Before we get too into the weeds, let’s quickly review your rotator cuff and what it does.

If you remember a previous post about shoulder impingement that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the shoulder is a very loose joint. It has more mobility than any other joint in the body because it is essentially a golf ball on a tee. The lack of support leads to mobility, but it puts a greater demand on the surrounding muscles.