The Magic four: Descriptions & Exercises of the Rotator Cuff

1. Infraspinatus - "out & away motion" The infraspinatus muscle is attached to the back of the shoulder blade on one end and to the back of the upper arm bone on the other. It assists with horizontal abduction and lateral rotation of the upper arm within the shoulder socket. Exercising the infraspinatus regularly can help the muscle function effectively and may prevent certain shoulder injuries.(credit: description from

  • The "out" motion: Keeping your elbow bend lateral rotate your arm away from the body with or without a flex band - should rotate 90 degrees.
  • The "away" motion: keep your elbow bent and place your hand on your belly. Now abduct your your arms away slightly as if you are elbowing someone next to you.
  • You might feel a spasm on the back of the shoulder blade (in a good way)

Infraspanatus & Subscapularis are antagonists. This means as you strengthen one you can stretch the other.

2. Subscapularis

  • Medial Rotation of the arm
  • Same arm position as lateral rotation but pull arm in toward body;
  • Should rotate 70 Degrees medial
  • Internal Rotation to begin and External Rotation at End (with band): Infraspinatus & Subscapularis

3. Teres Minor - Small but Mighty. the teres minor is located on the back of each of your shoulder blades. It is a small muscle that connects the lower portion of each shoulder blade to the top of each upper arm bone. During exercises that cause rotation of the shoulder, the teres minor does not work alone. The infraspinatus, supraspinatus and subscapularis work as a group to improve your shoulder strength and range of motion. (credit: description from

  • Keeping your elbow bend lateral rotate your arm away from the body with or without a flex band - should rotate 90 degrees.

4. Supraspinatus - The subscapularis is one of the four rotator-cuff muscles that act on your shoulder, facilitating inward rotation of the humerus bone within the shoulder socket. The muscle crosses in front of your shoulder joint, attaching to the scapula bone in your upper back on the inside and to the front of the humerus on the outside. Strengthening the subscapularis involves performing resistance exercises that activate the muscle on a regular basis as part of a well-designed program. (credit: description from

  • Arms straight down by your sides, begin without resistance
  • Arms out to the side of your body, with your thumbs rotated down towards the floor
  • Slowly lift your arms out to the side , no higher than the shoulder. keep shoulder blade down the back.
  • Push-ups are also a wonderful way to focus on the subscapularis!

Abduction starting position


Abduction end position

  • you can also do this movement with a straight arms, thumb down.

Lateral Rotation starting position


Lateral Rotation end position

  • you can also do these exercises without resistance and laying on your side