The Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint also known as the Glenohumeral joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone, the humerus, firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder, called the glenoid cavity of the scapula.
What makes this joint so prone to injury is it’s ability to move in so many directions. The joint is delicate, unlike the knee, which simply bends and straightens, the shoulder joint can flex and extend but also rotate making it more vulnerable.
A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when you try to sleep on the involved side. Many rotator cuff injuries or tears occur with repetitive stress to the joint including activities like baseball, swimming, tennis, and painters or carpenters.
While many tears require surgically repairing the joint. There are many exercises that will help stabilize the shoulder joint and allowing you to live a full and active lifestyle without invasive surgery.
Standing Rotator Cuff Exercises
Using tubing or a theraband, anchor the band at waist height, by tying it around the Smith Machine at the gym or a heavy piece of furniture. Standing with your arm at 90 degrees at the elbow and perpendicular to your torso and 45 degrees from the front. Holding the other end of the band or tubing, while making sure your elbow stays connected to your waist, open and close the arm by 45 degrees, pulling the band towards you so your arm returns directly in front of your body. You are essentially making a pie shape while pulling the resistance toward you, internally rotating. In order to work the external rotation of the cuff, keep the band in the same hand and turn around. Start with the arm slightly crossed the body, that same 45 degrees. Now push the resistance away from you returning to perpendicular to the torso. If you have no pain, do three set of twenty repititions both internally externally.
Supine Rotator Cuff Exercises
Lying on your side with a dumbbell in one hand, keeping your elbow connected to your torso. Star with the dumbbell toward the floor and rotate the arm up 45 degrees so you return the arm to parallel to the floor. You are not lifting the dumbbell. You are rotating your arm at a 45 degree angle only. The supine exercise only gets the external rotation of the cuff, so you should still to the internal rotation standing.