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Friday, August 12, 2011

Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation Exercises Are the Building Blocks of Recovery

Rotator cuff rehabilitation exercises are any exercises designed to return the cuff to its optimum condition.

Rehabilitation is the middle period of rotator cuff rehab and it is an extremely important period. Essentially, rehabilitation exercises are designed to slowly and steadily increase the range of motion in the shoulder. This process begins with a physical therapy stage and ends with a strengthening phase.

Start slowly and build up

The rehabilitation period following any form of rotator cuff repairs or tears can not be rushed. Please take your time. You can not rehabilitate your cuff on day one but you can cause more damage.

What you are trying to achieve is a steady build up in the range of motion your shoulder can tolerate. This is made possible by gradually introducing a range of different rotator cuff rehabilitation exercises. But you should start with a set of basic exercises.

Follow these simple rules

Arms in neutral positions
Exercise in the prone position (lying down) where possible.
No weights to begin with
Complete a range of rotator cuff internal and rotator cuff external exercises
Include some stretching
Ice after if necessary

Training with elastic.

As your strength increases why not try exercising with elastic resistance bands? What greater way to increase range of motion while encouraging the muscles to work harder. Again, the bands come in different resistance strengths so you can steadily build up through the range.

Range of motion

Increasing the range of motion is the key focus of rehabilitation exercises. To achieve a normal range of motion, you have to start working outside of the neutral positions.

Our shoulders have a huge range of movement. Training in neutral positions is important but you must exercise in other planes of movement. This is to mimic the natural movement we make everyday.

You can start this process fairly early in your rehab. Try this for example.

Roll up a couple of dozen sheets of paper
Place a bin on the floor approximately 2-3 metres away.
Now throw the paper in the bin
Do it underarm, over arm (careful here), forehand, backhand, out the back of the hand...

The possibilities are endless. This is a safe, easily set up exercise that can be fun. Challenge your kids, grandchildren, wife or husband... have some fun.


Stretching is an integral part of rehab. It is also the one major area that is often overlooked. I can not stress enough how important stretching can be.

Stretching the cuff muscles, especially after exercise, will speed your recovery. Not only that it, will also increase the range of motion you can achieve. Stretching achieves this by encouraging the tendons to lay down new collagen, the tendon's building blocks, in a structured way.

Be inventive

Train at different speeds fast and slow movements. Remember to always work smoothly however as jerky movements can cause more damage. No matter which rotator cuff rehabilitation exercises you do, try to remember, that the release of tension in any muscle is, as important, if not more so, than the initial contraction. Join me to learn more

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