Rotator Cuff Exercises

August 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm 5 comments

I’d like to apologise for the lateness of this post, which was due to problems with our internet connection. This post follows on from the previous one ‘Stabilising the Scapula & Shoulder Mobility’. If you haven’t read that post, read it before trying any of these exercises.

Shoulder Impingement
Stabilising the Scapula & Shoulder Mobility

Once you can ‘set’ or stabilise your scapulae with ease, and have good mobility at the shoulder, then it’s time to start strengthening the rotator cuff muscles. I’ve demonstrated most of these using a dynaband – these come in varying strengths so you can start with low resistance and use progressively stronger bands as you get stronger. You can also start without the bands, particularly if you already have shoulder problems, and build up to using them.

The first exercise, called the dumb waiter in pilates, involves starting with your elbows in a tucked position, shoulder blades ‘set’ and then externally rotating the arms. Many people won’t be able to get far to begin with, but with practice you should be able to increase the range. Make sure not to let your shoulders ride up while you do this exercise, or to let your elbows stray from your sides.
Dumb Waiter

The opposite of external rotation is internal rotation. Attach your band to something stable at about elbow height, such as a door handle. Start with your hand forward in front of you, elbow tucked in to your side, shoulders ‘set’. With a slow controlled movement, bring your hand across your body, hold, then slowly release.
Internal rotation

Once you get stronger, these exercises can also be performed with dumbells, or with an adjustable cable-pulley machine, set at the level of your elbow. Be sure to control the movement in both directions, your elbows tucked in, and your shoulder blades ‘set’ throughout.
DB rotation

As always, if something is very painful, or doesn’t feel right, don’t do it and seek professional assistance. Happy strengthening.

Here is a link to a series of articles by Eric Cressey, MA CSCS, on t-nation.com, about shoulder health for serious lifters. If you like to pound ’em out in the gym and have dickey shoulders, this one is for you:

Shoulder Savers Part I

Shoulder Savers Part II

Shoulder Savers Part III

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Entry filed under: exercise, heath and fitness, rotator cuff, shoulder impingement.

Stabilising the Scapula & Shoulder Mobility Week 4 Results

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. misakimd  |  August 14, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Great post! This exercises look so easy, yet most people would be suprised to find that 1 kg db get the job done when using perfect form.

    Reply
  • 2. blubberbegone  |  August 14, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks. Most people are astonished that they can’t do the dumb waiter, even without resistance! We’re just not used to moving our arms in the rotational plane, hence the common weaknesses.

    Reply
  • 3. Niki  |  May 28, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Very helpful exercise, Thanks.
    I have scapula winging from FSH muscular Dystrophy.
    Can you give me some information about Scapula Surgery (if it’s possible), or if you know people who have done this particular surgery, because in Greece they do not know something about this one.

    Reply
  • 4. Niki  |  May 28, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Do you know also if there is some Protein or Vitamin which can help for strength these arm muscles which suffer from scapula?
    Thank you again.
    Niki

    Reply
  • 5. blubberbegone  |  May 28, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Hi Niki, I’m sorry to hear about the MD and I’m glad you found the exercise useful. Unfortunately, I do not have medical training so can’t help you with the surgery. As for supplements – not sure, but I will look into it. Good luck, Angie.

    Reply

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