• Photo for Cable Side Rotators
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Cable Side Rotators

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

In strength training and in sports, the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder are highly prone to injury if not properly warmed up. The cable side rotator exercise provides an excellent, isolated warm up, as well as strength training, for the rotator cuff muscles.

Muscles Worked
Shoulders (rotator cuffs)

Starting Position
Stand erect next to a cable system machine with the cable set at stomach level and your body facing perpendicular to the machine. If you do not have access to a cable system machine, use rubber tubing attached to a pole or doorway.

Attach a single-handed grip to the end of the cable or rubber tube. Roll a towel in the armpit of the arm farthest away from the cable system machine, and then grasp the single-handed grip in the hand of that arm. Hold your elbow at a right angle to your body with your arm flat across your stomach (see Photo 1).


    From the starting position, with your elbow held at a right angle and your arm flat against your stomach, slowly move your hand from your stomach towards the outside of your body. Use your upper arm as the pivot point and be sure to keep your forearm at a right angle to your body. Keep your wrist flat throughout the movement (see Photo 2).
  1. Move your forearm as far out as you can go without compromising your form—a good rule of thumb is to try to extend two thirds of the way to having your forearm facing in the opposite direction of your starting point (see Photo 3).
  2. Reverse the motion, and slowly bring the your hand back across stomach
  3. After you have completed a set, switch sides and repeat with your other arm.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.