Rotator Cuff Exercises Are Important Exercises. Rotator Cuff Strengthening and Rotator Cuff Workouts can Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries

Here are some of the Best Rotator Cuff Exercises for men and women.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises are the most important shoulder exercises to do on a regular basis.

The Rotator Cuff is made of 4 muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. Individually, they pull the shoulder (humerus) in different directions, but collectively they work to dynamically stabilize the shoulder in the socket.

The rotator cuff muscles work to stabilize the shoulder and this takes pressure off the shoulder area and improves function and athletic performance.

If you are a regular person who is mildly active you should strengthen your rotator cuff. If you are gym goer that lifts weights, you should strengthen your rotator cuff. And, if you're a serious workout buff, power lifter, body builder, or athlete in a throwing, swinging, racquet, or swimming sport rotator cuff exercises are super important!

There are many different exercises for strengthening the rotator cuff and you can perform the exercises with different types of equipment, such as dumbbells, cables, or tubing/ resistance bands.

Rotator Cuff Exercises with Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a great way to strengthen the rotator cuff. And since the rotator cuff muscles are so small 1-5 pound dumbbells are usually heavy enough for most exercises.

One of the main motions of the rotator cuff is external rotation. This is simply when you shoulder rotates out to the side. You can perform external rotation from many positions but the main 2 positions are the neutral position of the shoulder and the abducted (shoulder raised to 90 degrees) position.

Neutral Position External Rotation Exercises
Side Lying Dumbbell External Rotation
Lying Face Down (Prone) Dumbbell External Rotation
Bent Over Dumbbell External Rotation

Abducted Position External Rotation Exercises
Standing Dumbbell External Rotation
Seated Dumbbell External Rotation
Lying Face Down (Prone) Dumbbell External Rotation

These exercises are great for the rotator cuff.

Internal Rotation Exercises

Supine Internal Rotation from an Abducted Position

Cables or Resistance Bands External Rotation

The Cables or Resistance Bands offer a different feel to dumbbells because there is constant tension throughout the range of motion with cables and a building level of tension throughout the range of motion with resistance bands.

Since external rotation is one of the main actions of the rotator cuff, many rehab programs start with resistance band external rotations from the neutral position. However, when resistance bands become too easy, some gym goers move on to cables in order to further increase the resistance and strength.

Cable Exercises for the Rotator Cuff
Neutral Shoulder Position: Standing Cable External Rotation
Abducted Shoulder Position: Standing Cable External Rotation

Neutral Position: Standing Cable Internal Rotation

Abducted Position: Standing Cable Internal Rotation

Resistance Band Exercises for the Rotator Cuff
Neutral Shoulder Position: Standing External Rotation
Abducted Shoulder Position: Standing External Rotation

These are all sample exercises. If you have a shoulder injury, it is recommended that you seek live counsel from a licensed health professional. In addition, it is recommended that you stop any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort.

Here's an article on Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Exercises.

Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff Muscles

Learn more about the anatomy of the rotator cuff muscles.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

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