I don’t have anything against rotator cuff exercise, specifically when you’ve suffered a shoulder joint injury, because the rotator cuff muscles will actually be inhibited, and rotator cuff exercises can help to essentially turn them back on. There are variations of rotator cuff exercises that are useful for activation purposes and a ton of other exercises that are useful for actually strengthening the rotator cuff. The most important function of the rotator cuff is not to create large external rotation range of motion, but more to stabilize the head of the humerus in the glenoid cavity.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when performing rotator cuff exercises is to maintain the scapula stable. We often see people letting both the scapula and the humerus move when performing these exercises. This means both muscle attachments are moving, preventing you from actually isolating and “strengthening” the muscle. Dissociating movement of the glenohumeral joint and movement of the scapula is foremost if you’re going to be using these exercises.
Eccentric-only band external rotations and band subscapularis rotations are two really effective variations of rotator cuff exercises that should be programmed to re-establish shoulder health. Watch the full video to see how they are done.