Side lying external shoulder rotation



Muscle Groups

Planes of Motion

Outer Unit

Necessary Material


The side lying external shoulder rotation promotes scapular movement and stability and reduces the risk of shoulder injuries.

Research shows that this exercise promotes lower and middle trapezius activation with minimal activity in the upper trapezius. This will improve or restore scapular muscle balance and stability.

This exercise also strengthens the rotator cuff and the posterior deltoid.

Starting Position

Perform the exercise with a light dumbbell.

Lie on the side, holding the dumbbell in the hand of the upper arm.

Position the elbow of the upper arm against the rib cage, to avoid movement other than external rotation.


Externally rotate the arm through full range of motion.

Coaching Keys

Keep the scapula retracted throughout the entire exercise.

Do not let the elbow of the upper arm drift away from the body.