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Rotator Cuff Exercises

Rotator cuff exercises are simple, quick, and extremely effective. In fact, they're one of the secrets that keep champions in the game while equally talented athletes languish on the sidelines with injury.

The rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles and their tendons that work together to allow your shoulder to raise and rotate your arm, and stabilize the whole thing during movement. 

And given how much a part your shoulders play in any form of exercise, it's easy to understand how over-use and trauma can give them a caning. The result is pain, weakness, and restricted movement.

It's alright to get stuck into rotator cuff exercises once you realize there's a problem, providing that you give the injury plenty of time to heal. (If you don't, you're likely to make the situation considerably worse.) 

But surely it's far smarter to launch a pre-emptive strike - get in first, and avoid rotator cuff injury in the first place. By adding a minute or two to your warmup, you could save weeks on the sidelines!

Here are a few rotator cuff injury exercises to choose from - three is a good number - and make them a part of your shoulder exercise program. Try for 20-30 repetitions of each.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

1. Lie face down with your arms stretched out in front of you, palms facing each other, thumbs up. Slowly raise and lower your arms from the shoulder.

2. Stand side on to a wall, lift your hand so your elbow is bent to 90 degrees and, keeping the elbow close to your body, press the back of your hand into the wall for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise on the other side

3. Raise both elbows above your head and use the hand of one arm to pull the opposite elbow across behind your head. Hold it for 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other elbow. Three repetitions is usually fine.

4. Stretch one arm across your body at shoulder height then use the other arm to press in on the point of the elbow, effectively straightening hte arm and stretching the rotator cuff. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. 3 reps.

5. Lie face down, arms by your sides, palms up. Slowly raise and lower your arms from the shoulder.

6. Lie on your side, with the upper part of your body clear of the floor and supported by your elbow and forearm flat on the floor. Rest your top elbow on your hip and slowly pivot your hand and forearm through 180 degrees, from near the floor to vertical, and back.

There are many variations on these rotator cuff exercises, some using dumbbells or resistance bands. I found these isometric exercises to be just as effective, although as you pregress you may wish to upgrade or vary the exercises you choose.

Prevention is better than cure, so please consider making these exercises a part of your routine. If you're recovering from rotator cuff injury, though, make sure allow the injury to heal first.