Shoulder Internal Rotation Exercises

by Patrick Dale Google

About Patrick Dale

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.


Internal or medial rotation is a simple joint movement that involves numerous muscles. The subscapularis, teres minor, pectoralis major, latisimus dorsi, anterior deltoid and the long head of biceps brachii all work together to rotate your humerus forward in your shoulder socket. Medial shoulder rotation can occur with your arm held at almost any angle, including extended out to shoulder level or hanging hanging down by your side. There are a number of exercises that you can perform that involve medial rotation of the shoulder joint.

Resistance Band Medial Rotation

Medial rotation with a resistance band is a common rehabilitation exercise that can easily be performed at home. Tie a resistance band to a door knob or similarly sturdy hip-high anchor and stand with it on your left. Grasp the band with your left hand and step away from the anchor to tension the band. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and tuck your arm into your ribs. Keeping your elbow bent, rotate your upper arm inward from your shoulder until your forearm is touching your abdomen. Slowly rotate your arm outward and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions and switch sides.

Supine Dumbbell Medial Rotations

This exercise allows you load your medial rotation muscles a little more strongly than the equivalent resistance band exercise and is better suited to stronger individuals, those in later-stage rehab and for those seeking a preventative measure to avoid developing shoulder weakness. Lie on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in each hand. Rest your upper arms on the floor so that they are at right angles to your body. Point your forearms directly upward. Slowly lower the dumbbells backward until the backs of your hands are just above the floor. Raise the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat. This exercise should be performed slowly and deliberately to minimize your risk of injury. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Isometric Medial Rotation

Isometric exercise involve no actual joint movement despite tension being generated by your muscles. This type of exercise is ideal for performing at home as you don't need any exercise equipment. Stand in an open doorway with your forearms resting on the vertical frames. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor. Stand directly between your arms in a slightly staggered stance to enhance your balance. From this position, press your palms forward while ensuring your entire lower arm remains in contact with the door frame. Imagine you are trying to rotate your arms forward by pivoting on your elbow -- not unlike the movement of arm wrestling. Hold this contracted position for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Side Lying Dumbbell Medial Rotation

This exercise allows you to target one arm at a time so that any muscular imbalances between your right and left arm can be addressed. Lie on your side on an exercise bench with your elbow bent to 90 degrees and your upper arm tucked into your body and resting on the edge of the bench. Keep your forearm parallel to the floor and your palm facing the ceiling. With a dumbbell in your hand, rotate your arm inward and upward so that your hand comes up toward the opposite side of your chest. Slowly lower your arms back to parallel and then repeat 10 to 15 times before switching sides.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or