By Gavin Buehler
The rotator cuff muscles are a commonly injured group of muscles due to their role of providing not only movement but also stability to one of the most unstable joints in the body. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion in the body which puts a lot of strain on the muscles and connective tissues that allow it to function as it does. With this ability to move, it’s no surprise that these muscles have a higher susceptibility to injury.
Additionally, if the scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizers are not functioning optimally and your shoulder blade does not sit or move in the appropriate position, it will create even more strain on the rotator cuff muscles making them a shoe in for injury. So, it is important to note that if you do experience rotator cuff issues, there is a good chance that your scapular stabilization is also compromised and should be addressed in conjunction with the rotator cuff muscles. Below is a video for an exercise highlighting the serratus anterior muscle, one of the key scapular stabilizers.
The exercises in this video are fantastic prehab, maintenance, and depending on the stage of a recovery, rehab exercises for your rotator cuff muscles.
Your rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles. This video will highlight a basic exercise that puts more focus on the supraspinatus, the most commonly injured of the 4 rotator cuff muscles, and a movement that incorporates the 3 muscles that externally rotate the shoulder including the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor.
As always, these videos are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult a health professional before attempting new exercises or protocols, as the following suggestions may or may not be appropriate for you.
Side-Lying Lateral @ 2:17
Side-Lying External Shoulder Rotation @ 3:45
Side-Lying Lateral Raise – 1-3 sets, 12-15 reps at a slow tempo (3 secs. Up 3 secs down) OR
1-3 sets, 5-8 reps with a 5-10 sec. isometric hold at top position. This exercise can be performed 2-3x/week. Do not exercise muscles to failure.
Side-Lying External Shoulder Rotation – 1-3 sets, 12-15 reps, 2 secs up, 4 secs down. This exercise can be performed 2-3x/week. Do not exercise muscles to failure.