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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 34: Isometric Shoulder External Rotation Walkouts

Updated: May 19

For the month of January, we have selected exercises to keep you strong and agile on the pickleball court throughout the entire winter 🥒🎾

Exercise: Isometric Shoulder External Rotation Walkouts

Purpose: To ensure that the external rotator muscles of the shoulder remain activated during a dynamic activity - walking laterally

What It Targets: Controlled mobility of the Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Posterior Deltoid, Middle Deltoid, Latissimus Dorsi, Biceps Brachii, Wrist Extensors; Dynamic stabilization of the Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Transverse Abdominis


  1. Stand perpendicular to a cable column or resistance band with your elbow flexed to 90 degrees, and a towel roll between your elbow and ribcage. 

  2. Grab the resistance with your outside hand.

  3. Press your elbow into the towel roll as you pull against the resistance, placing your hand in line with your shoulder and elbow still at 90 degrees.

  4. Keep your wrist neutral and in line with your forearm, with palm facing the source of the resistance

  5. Feeling the muscles in the side of your trunk and back of your shoulder blade fire, slowly walk out laterally, keeping your feet parallel and trunk upright.

  6. Pause at end range without losing form.

  7. Slowly walk back with controlled motion.

  8. Repeat on the other side.

  9. Repeat as prescribed.

Main Cues:

  • Keep your upper arm parallel to your trunk with your elbow in line with your shoulder

  • Keep your wrist in line with your forearm, elbow and shoulder

  • You should feel the muscles in the outer portion of your shoulder blade controlling the motion 

  • Maintain good control, keeping your spine stacked and core engaged throughout the entire motion

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Muscle work in the front of your shoulder and/or neck

Correction: Make conscious to set up this exercise so your hand, elbow and shoulder are in line, with effort to initiate motion from the back of the shoulder blade and not the front or top of the shoulder; Make sure to squeeze the towel to set the shoulder blade; Decrease the level of resistance 

  • Excessive muscle work in the pec/chest

Correction: Be mindful of setup position, specifically elbow in line with shoulder and forearm perpendicular to trunk avoiding letting the wrist curl in towards your belly; Decrease the level of resistance

  • Pain in neck

Correction: Do not allow your shoulders to hike forward or up and cause compression on the neck; Reduce the range of motion; Decrease the weight

Why We Love It:

  • It calls upon shoulder stabilizers that should be working automatically but that are often inhibited and weak (which is especially dangerous during racket sports)

  • It improves activation and endurance of the shoulder external rotators while focusing on another functional task (a task that should be built upon for strong maneuvering on the pickle ball court)

  • core focused rotational movement introduces lumbar spine rotation in a safe manner (a prerequisite for avoiding back pain with racket sports)

  • It connects arm strength and core power in the frontal plane

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

Keep It Moving Physical Therapy & Wellness

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Suite 200 (Inside Muscle Mind Movement)

Burlington, MA 01803

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