Shoulder muscle fatigue has not been assessed in massive rotator cuff tear (MRCT). This study used EMG to measure fatigability of 13 shoulder muscles in 14 healthy controls and 11 patients with MRCT. A hand grip protocol was applied to minimise artifacts due to pain experience during measurement. The fatigue index (median frequency slope) was significantly non-zero (negative) for anterior, middle, and posterior parts of deltoid, supraspinatus and subscapularis muscles in the controls, and for anterior, middle, and posterior parts of deltoid, and pectoralis major in patients (p ≤ 0.001). Fatigue was significantly greater in patients compared to the controls for anterior and middle parts of deltoid and pectoralis major (p ≤ 0.001). A submaximal grip task provided a feasible way to assess shoulder muscle fatigue in MRCT patients, however with some limitations. The results suggest increased activation of deltoid is required to compensate for lost supraspinatus abduction torque. Increased pectoralis major fatigue in patients (adduction torque) likely reflected strategy to stabilise the humeral head against superior subluxing force of the deltoid. Considering physiotherapy as a primary or adjunct intervention for the management of MRCT, the findings of this study generate a base for future clinical studies aiming at the development of evidence-based protocols.