Rotator Cuff Exercises

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Overview Of Rotator Cuff Exercises

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons hold the arm in its joint and help the shoulder joint to move. The tendons can be torn from overuse, injury, or wearing away over time. Rotator cuff exercises can help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and tendons to relieve your symptoms.

Commonly Associated With

Rotator Cuff Rehabilition

Your Shoulder Joint

The tendons of the rotator cuff pass underneath a bony area on their way to attaching to the top of the arm bone. These tendons join together to form a cuff that surrounds the shoulder joint. This helps keep the joint stable and allows the arm bone to move on the shoulder bone.

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis, which is irritation and swelling of these tendons
  • A rotator cuff tear, which occurs when one of the tendons is torn due to overuse or injury

These injuries often lead to pain, weakness, and stiffness when you use your shoulder. A key part in your recovery is doing exercises to make the muscles and tendons in your joint stronger and more flexible.

Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to treat your rotator cuff and recommend rotator cuff exercises. A physical therapist is trained to help improve your ability to do the activities you want.

Evaluating Your Shoulder

  • Watch how your shoulder moves as you perform activities, including your shoulder joint and your shoulder blade
  • Observe your spine and posture as you stand or sit
  • Check the range of motion of your shoulder joint and spine
  • Test different muscles for weakness or stiffness
  • Check to see which movements seem to cause or worsen your pain

After testing and examining you, your doctor or physical therapist will know which muscles are weak or too tight. You will then start a program to stretch your muscles and make them stronger.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

  • Help you strengthen and stretch the muscles around your shoulder
  • Teach you proper ways to move your shoulder, for everyday tasks or sports activities
  • Teach you correct shoulder posture

Before doing exercises at home, ask your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you are doing them properly. If you have pain during or after an exercise, you may need to change the way you are doing the exercise.

Most rotator cuff exercises either stretch or strengthen the muscles and tendons of your shoulder joint.

  • Stretching the back of your shoulder (posterior stretching)
  • Hand up your back stretch (anterior shoulder stretch)
  • Anterior shoulder stretch – towel
  • Pendulum exercise
  • Wall stretches
  • Internal rotation exercise – with band
  • External rotation exercise – with band
  • Isometric shoulder exercises
  • Wall push-ups
  • Shoulder blade (scapular) retraction – no tubing
  • Shoulder blade (scapular) retraction – tubing
  • Arm reach