3 Great Rotator Cuff Exercises

November 12, 2012

3 Great Rotator Cuff Exercises

The rotator cuff is another way of saying “the shoulder muscles that help you make arm circles.” These muscles can be damaged, so it is good to exercise them as part of a regular exercise program. To perform these rotator cuff exercises, you need to have a 2 to 4 ounce hand weight, such as a plastic water bottle with only 2 to 4 ounces of water inside of it. You will also need an exercise mat, a pillow, a rolled up towel and a bed or table that you can lay down on.

Before performing any of these rotator cuff exercises, you need to spend a few minutes warming up. Failure to do this can result in a pulled muscle or a painful rotator cuff injury. A good warm up exercise should be done slowly. Bend slightly at the waist, hanging your arms straight down in front of you and gently swing them back and forth, as if they were twin pendulums.

One: Lie Down and Lift Arms

Many rotator cuff exercises are down while the body is lying down. Lie face down at the edge of a table or bed so that one arm is dangling over the side. Grab the weight with this arm and slowly lift to a count of three or 5 (whichever is more comfortable) so that the arm is eye-level. Slowly lower the arm with the same count. Repeat until this arm becomes tired. Switch to the other arm and lift the weight until that arm becomes tired.

Two: Lie on Side and Lift Arms

Lie on an exercise mat or your bed, if can give enough support. Keep a pillow under your head to keep from pulling your neck muscles when performing these rotator cuff exercises. Turn on your side so that you are lying on one shoulder. To make yourself more comfortable, position the arm so your hand is in front of your face. Roll up a towel or use another pillow to stuff under the armpit of the arm on top of your side. Grab a weight and lift the arm so that it is level with the shoulder, keeping the towel in place. Repeat until the arm gets tired. After that, switch to the other side and work out the other arm and shoulder.

But what if you do not have another pillow or rolled up towel? Don’t worry. You can perform a variation of this exercise. Lie down on your side shoulder. That is the arm that is going to lift weights while your other arm will rest on your side. Ideally, you should bend your elbow so your arm is 90 degrees to your body. When this arm gets tired, roll over and do the other arm.

Three: Stand and Lift

Now, you can stand up. Place a weight in one hand so the thumb is facing behind you. Slowly raise the arm out to your side so that your thumb is now facing the floor. When that arm gets tired, switch to the other arm. If you have to raise your resting arm to keep your balance, that’s fine. Never lift after you begin to feel pain.

After performing these rotator cuff exercises about three times a week, place an ice pack on your shoulders for 20 minutes. That will help prevent stiffness and pain from developing.

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