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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 49: Hooklying Shoulder External Rotation Isometrics

Exercise: Hooklying Shoulder External Rotation Isometrics

Purpose: To prime activation of the shoulder external rotators in an unloaded position, with the purpose of initiating strength and endurance of this muscle group.

What It Targets: The shoulder external rotators: Infraspinatus, Teres Minor; Posterior Deltoid, Middle Deltoid, Latissumus Dorsi


  1. Lay on your back in the hooklying position with knees bent and pelvis is a neutral position.

  2. Place a loop resistance band around both wrists, and bend your elbows at 90 degrees by your side with both elbows resting on a towel roll.

  3. Lightly press into your side activating your lats.

  4. Keeping your forearms parallel, pull apart on the resistance until you feel the muscles on the outer side of your shoulder blades activate.

  5. Press as hard as you can without pain or compensation with the outer shoulders or neck.

  6. Hold as long as prescribed. Repeat as many times as prescribed.

Main Cues:

  • Be sure to isolate activation of the muscles on the outer portion of both shoulder blades

  • Keep the outer upper shoulders and neck muscles completely relaxed

  • Keep the elbows pressed into your sides to keep the shoulders in optimal position to fire the external rotators

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Compensation with the upper traps

Correction: Focus on driving elbows down and in with intention to keep upper traps relaxed; use less resistance; Move through less range of motion.

  • Pain in the shoulder(s)

Correction: Be sure not to let the elbows move away from your sides; reduce the level of resistance; reduce the range of motion

Why We Love It:

  • It primes activation an often neglected group of muscles necessary for optimal shoulder and neck health

  • It is a safe unloaded position that is good for conditions that irritate the cervical spine (neck)

  • It's a great method by which to teach proper isolation and activation of the shoulder external rotators

*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.

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