Form Friday: Cable/Banded External Rotation


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Cable/Banded External Rotation

Muscle Groups:  Infrasprinatus, Teres Minor, Rear Deltoid, Subscapularis

Importance: While the big muscles in the shoulder tend to get plenty of attention, the smaller rotator cuff muscles can sometimes be forgotten despite their importance. This exercise helps strengthen the rotator cuff muscles which are extremely important in injury prevention in order to protect the shoulder joint.

Proper Form:

  1. Set the cable or band at the same height as your elbow if you are standing with your arms at your side

  2. Stand with one side of your body facing the band/cable and grasp the handle with your hand on the side further away from the band/cable, keeping your elbow pressed firmly into your side (Ideally, you will have some sort of pad or towel in between your elbow and side.)

  3. With your elbow at 90 degrees, start with your hand and forearm across the front of your torso while holding the handle

  4. Keeping your shoulder blade retracted and your elbow tucked to your side, begin to rotate at your shoulder in a backhand motion so that you are rotating against the resistance of the cable/band

  5. Once you reach your end range of external rotation, pause and slowly return to the starting position

  6. Repeat same number of repetitions on other side

Progression/Regression: Banded Double External Rotation


  • Don’t let your traps engage and take over the movement

  • Elbow tucked to avoid “wing” outward

  • Shoulder blades remain retracted

Notes: This exercise is used for prehab/rehab and can be incorporated into any warm up