I had a case of shoulder impingement a while back and it got 85–90% better with physio, but then found this exercise online which appears to be helping to finish my recovery:

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It really feels like it's doing the trick... but I'm just wondering what muscles it's actually working?

I presume it targets around the rotator cuff?

1 Answer 1


This movement can be understood by breaking it down into it's parts.

Position: Side-lying
Shoulder: (GH Joint) 0 degree's of Flexion.
Elbow: Fully Extended.
Movement: Shoulder Flexion from 0 to 90 degrees (gravity minimized)

In order to keep your hand parallel to the floor, and modulate the force needed to complete the movement, scapula stabilizers (retractors).

Scapula Retractors:
1.) Lower Trapezius
2.) Rhomboids (Major and Minor)

What is great about this exercise - the shoulder flexion provides various degrees of muscle activation throughout the range of motion (ROM) also known as dynamic stability.

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