Strengthen Your Shoulder Muscles with Rotator Cuff Exercises
Experts recommend incorporating weight bearing exercises into an exercise program in order to burn belly fat and strengthen muscles and tendons. One muscle and tendon area that people often need strengthening is the muscles around the shoulders. Here are four simple exercises that strengthen the shoulder by working out the rotator cuff — the group of muscles that help the shoulder perform rotations or circles. Before Exercising Use a small weight of 2 ounces when first beginning these exercises. After one week of doing all four of these exercises, increase the weight to 4 ounces. Keep on increasing the weight by 2 ounces a week unless you begin to experience pain. Never perform these exercises when in pain or you may risk suffering a rotator cuff injury. Perform the exercises slowly and as relaxed as you can. Do not speed through the exercises. Take about 3 seconds to lift an arm up or lower it. After the exercises, your rotator cuffs will be tired and sore. Use an ice pack for 20 minutes to help soothe the muscles. Perform these exercises 3 – 5 times every week. Exercise One: Lifting While Laying Down Lie down of a table or bench so that your arms are hanging down each side to the floor. Grab a small weight with one hand. Lift the arm holding the weight 90 degrees, or level with your shoulder. Do not lift higher because that can cause a rotator cuff injury. Keep lifting until the arm becomes tired. Repeat the exercise with the other arm. Do not keep on lifting if pain sets in.
Exercise Two: Towel in Armpit
For this exercise, you will need an exercise mat, a pillow, a towel and a small weight or barbell. Lie down on your side. Uses a pillow to keep your head aligned with your spine and prevent a neck injury. Bend the elbow of the arm you are lying on so that your hand rests against the pillow in front of your face. Roll up a towel and place under the armpit on the arm facing the sky or ceiling. Place a weight in this hand. Slowly raise the arm until it is level with your shoulder. Use a swinging action that mimics a backhand in the game of tennis. Then lower the arm until your hand is resting on your chest. Repeat until your arm gets tired. Then get up and lie down the other way so your other arm and rotator cuff gets a workout.
Exercise Three: Lazy Version of Exercise Two
Lay on your side as in Exercise Two but dispose of the towel. Instead of raising your arm straight up, keep it resting on your side. Use the arm you are laying on. Lift a weight from the floor to your chest. Repeat until the arm gets tired. Get up and turn over to work out the other arm and rotator cuff.
Exercise Four: Standing Arm Lifts
Stand up. Place one weight in each hand, with the thumb pointing behind you. Slowly lift one arm straight out 45 degrees or so it is level with the floor. Raise your other arm as much as you need to if you feel unbalanced. Hold for 20 or 30 seconds and then slowly lower. Repeat this exercise with the other arm and rotator cuff. Do this until both arms are tired.
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