Supraspinatus Tendon Isometric Iso-Integration Part II

Two more theories to check out on this critical aspect of shoulder function: how to ‘rehab’ the Supraspinatus Tendon that so often gets aggravated in the gym with loaded shoulder movements. We have said so far that it both tends to get inhibited, and also therefore needs to be activated NOT stretched back into function.

SO, today:


That Supraspinatus can be effectively strengthened by resisted Abduction in an Internally Rotated position ("Empty Can" exercise). Here is what it looks like (and trust me it used to be very widely prescribed!):


Very risky!! It is often used as an assessment, yet all it does is confirm the obvious that the shoulder has genuine impingement (which can be valid).

Again pain is the key and therefore this is very risky. Especially the Empty Can exercise! (see image) - I hate it! This is a great exercise to really pinch and squash your supraspinatus unless it is a really healthy shoulder already!

Can you see the similarity between the Upright Row exercise at the top and the Empty Can exercise? Both are elevation of the arm with full internal rotation (thumbs down position is the same as hands in front with the bar), and are a seriously high risk exercise for anyone suffering shoulder pain.

I DON'T recommend them for rehab of Supraspinatus!

A biomechanically safer alternative would be elevation with thumbs up (hmmm the “Full Can”…), or simple shoulder press - that will work your Supraspinatus::! 

Last Supraspinatus instalment with video next week ;)


Check out The Vault - it has over 10 years of rehab videos, PDF's and articles all at your finger tips when you need them most: