Rotator Cuff Exercises

Rotator Cuff Exercises

Article by John Miller

Rotator Cuff Exercises

Why is Rotator Cuff Exercise Important?

Many muscles are involved in shoulder movement, and all work together, but strengthening the rotator cuff is especially essential. Your rotator cuff is the primary stabiliser of the shoulder joint.

If the ball of the upper arm sits abnormally, abnormal stress is placed on surrounding tissue and may cause gradual injury. Strengthening the rotator cuff helps prevents common rotator cuff injuries, including tendinopathies, rotator cuff tears, and shoulder impingement syndrome.

Age-related changes in rotator cuff tendons leave them less elastic and more susceptible to injury. There is also a gradual loss of muscle mass that occurs with ageing, which can be

What are your Rotator Cuff Muscles?

rotator cuff exercises

The supraspinatus is located at the top of the shoulder and abducts the shoulder – it raises the upper arm and moves it away from the body.

The subscapularis is at the front of the shoulder – it internally rotates the shoulder.

The infraspinatus and teres minor are in the back of the shoulder – they externally rotate the shoulder.

Each rotator cuff muscle moves the shoulder in a separate direction. However, as a muscle team, the rotator cuff muscles work together to stabilise the shoulder joint.

The long head of the biceps tendon that runs over the top of the humerus and connects at the top of the shoulder joint helps stabilise the shoulder joint. By lifting something substantial, overloading your biceps may cause biceps tendon overload, resulting in bicipital tendinopathy. Strengthening the biceps helps prevent injury.

Strengthening all the rotator cuff muscles is essential, but premature strengthening can delay healing and cause more pain. For specific advice regarding injury-appropriate rotator cuff strengthening, please seek the professional advice of an experienced shoulder physiotherapist.

Scapular Stabilisation Exercises

Rotator cuff exercises are rarely effective in isolation. You should have your scapular stability assessed and undertake scapular stabilisation exercises to address any deficiencies. Your physiotherapist will prescribe appropriate exercises following your scapulohumeral rhythm assessment. You should seek the professional advice of an experienced shoulder physiotherapist to have your shoulder accurately assessed and managed.

Common Shoulder Pain & Injury Conditions

Rotator Cuff

Adhesive Capsulitis

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder Instability

Acromioclavicular Joint

Bone Injuries

Post-Operative Physiotherapy

Muscle Conditions

Systemic Conditions

Referred Pain

Shoulder Treatment

Researchers have discovered that managing your shoulder injury with physiotherapy is usually successful. Typically, you have two options: a non-operative or a surgical approach. Your condition will dictate which option is best for you at this time. Non-operative care is conservative rehabilitation.

If shoulder surgery is required, then your physiotherapist may undertake:

Pre-operative rehabilitation  - to either trial a non-operative/conservative treatment approach or condition and prepare your shoulder and body for a surgical procedure.

Post-operative physiotherapy will safely regain your normal range of movement, strength and function.

PhysioWorks physiotherapists have a particular interest and an excellent working relationship with leading shoulder surgeons. Our physiotherapy team provide you with both conservative and post-operative shoulder rehabilitation options. We aim for you to attain the best possible outcome for your shoulder injury.

For specific information regarding your shoulder, please consult your trusted shoulder physiotherapist.