These Rotator Cuff Exercises Will Help

Shoulder injuries are serious business. They can be tremendously painful, limiting and slow to heal.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder and allow it to move.

If you have a shoulder injury, start with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Once swelling has gone down and you can move your arm without pain, some exercises can help you heal and prevent issues like a frozen shoulder or loss of range of motion.

Side-lying Horizontal Abduction

How to do it:

  1. Start on your side on a mat, placing your arm or a towel to keep your neck neutral.
  2. Stretch your top arm straight out in front of you with a soft bend in the elbow, keep the elbow from locking, holding a light dumbbell.
  3. Lift the wrist up toward the ceiling as far as you can go without pain, but do not overextend your shoulder.
  4. Slowly lower back toward the floor.

Aim for 10 to 12 reps for three sets on each side. If you need to, just move to a lighter weight to start.

Doorway Stretch

  1. Stand at end of wall or in doorway facing perpendicular to wall.
  2. Place inside of bent arm on surface of wall. Position bent elbow shoulder height.
  3. Turn body away from positioned arm. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite arm.

Lawn Mower Pull

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in your left hand.
  2. Squat as you rotate your torso to the right and bring the dumbbell toward your right foot.
  3. Stand up, rotate your torso slightly to the left and raise the dumbbell until it’s close to your left shoulder.
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

Also known as dumbbell rows, perfect form looks like you’re starting a lawn mower. Keep your back straight, your head and neck relaxed, and exhale as you pull the dumbbell toward your shoulder.