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  • Writer's pictureNesve Yayalar

Rotator Cuff Strengthening exercises for shoulder health

What are the rotator cuff muscles and why they are important? The most common causes of shoulder pain are rotator cuff muscles injuries and tears due to their weakness. The rotator cuff muscles are a group of four muscles and their tendons that connect upper arm (humerus) to shoulder blades (scapula). Their role is to keep the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) stable during large movements of the arm, allowing the bigger superficial shoulder muscles (deltoid, pectoralis) to work more efficiently. Here are few exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles to prevent or rehab shoulder injuries. 1. Side lying horizontal shoulder abduction: use a light weight (1-5 lbs) or non weight. Begin with your arm perpendicular to the body. Keep your palm facing toward floor. Slowly lift and rotate your arm back with a controlled movement. Avoid any momentum and engage your abdominal muscles, so your spine should remain stable, repeat up to 10-20 times. Switch arm. 2. Begin with your arm resting on your side with palm facing out, raise your arm slowly toward the head without bending at the elbow. Keep the movement slow and controlled. 3. Begin with elbow bent 90, resting on your side. Slowly press arm firmly above side ribcage, keep repeating with a controlled motion up to 10-20 repetitions. 4. You can place a towel between arm and ribcage for more support for this exercise if you can't keep your elbow on your side. It's important that your elbow remains resting on your side during the movement. Slowly rotate arm using the muscles on the back of the shoulders, but not your biceps or wrist. If you feel like you are compensating with your biceps, chest muscles, stop the exercise, readjust your position and pick up a lighter weight or use no weight.

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