Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Torn Rotator Cuff Exercises


Torn rotator cuff exercises are essential to the successful treatment of rotator cuff tears.

This is something I firmly believe and it is backed up with a huge weight of evidence.

Like you, I have suffered from a torn rotator cuff. In writing this I have used my own experience and the experiences of so many others just like you.

I have come to understand how and why rotator cuff exercise is crucial is to making a complete recovery. I understand that because torn rotator cuff exercises are many and varied this can make them a daunting prospect.

I hope that I can help to remove some of the mystery and I have tried to keep it simple and give it some sort of structure.

The single most important thing for you to grasp about torn rotator cuff exercises is that they are for absolutely everyone. If you have a torn rotator cuff then rotator cuff exercise IS FOR YOU!

There really is no excuse

  1. “I have never been in a gym”
  2. “I have no equipment”
  3. “I can’t afford it”
  4. “I don’t have the time”
  5. “I don’t know how”
  6. “I am frightened of making it worse”

These are a selection of the excuses I have regularly heard (and used myself) in the past. There are others but these are the most common and as I will show they are not real objections. They all amount to the same thing - anxiety of the unknown. Let’s remove the mystery and fear.

Have a look at this picture – can you really not do this?

  1. You do not need to go to the gym
  2. You do not need any equipment
  3. If you do buy some equipment it will be light weights and elastic resistance bands – both fairly cheap
  4. Everyone can afford 30 minutes every other day
  5. I will show you how
  6. I will teach you to listen to your body

What is the point of torn rotator cuff exercises?

Torn rotator cuff exercises are important for four major reasons.

  1. Range of movement – To fully restore the shoulders ability to operate in every plane as effectively as before the tear occurred.
  2. Strength - rotator cuff training is the only way to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles
  3. Stability – strengthened rotator cuff muscles will stabilise the shoulder joint
  4. Prevention - A strong rotator cuff and stable shoulder joint is the best defence against any future rotator cuff problems.

Rotator cuff exercise protocol

In this instance “protocol” simply means program. After any rotator cuff tear, or surgical repair of a tear, there should be a structured approach to recovery. For me there are three distinct phases

  1. rotator cuff physical therapy exercises
  2. rotator cuff rehab exercises
  3. rotator cuff strengthening exercises

Torn Rotator Cuff ExercisesThere are pages on the website dedicated to each phase.

Essentially however the physical therapy period is a few weeks of low resistance, isometric and assisted exercises aimed at increasing range of movement.

Rehab exercises aim to build on that using elastic, small weights and rotator cuff stretches.

The final strengthening phase comprises of the same exercises but with increased repetitions and weights (still no more than a few pounds max).

Don’t forget the rotator cuff muscles, are small. They are the instigators of arm movement only. The larger surrounding muscles take over to do the real strength work. Using too large weights will mean the rotator cuff muscles are not being worked; this is counter productive.

Torn rotator cuff exercises – 10 key points to remember!

  1. Build it up steadily - rehabilitation can take 6 to 9 months so take your time.
  2. Do a variety of different exercises – work in different planes e.g. internal / external rotation
  3. Warm up before exercise – it doesn’t have to be much just get the blood flowing
  4. Include stretches - rotator cuff stretches help to improve muscle function and tendon strength
  5. Be inventive – We use our shoulder in so many directions so exercise in as many ways as possible.
  6. Only use small weights – 4/5lbs absolute maximum
  7. Do not over exercise – For effective rehab and strength work every other day is enough
  8. Ice regularly after exercise – just ice cubes in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel placed on the shoulder.
  9. STOP on pain – a little discomfort is to be expected but stop on pain and seek advice – listen to your body!
  10. Get someone else involved – They will provide both support and encouragement – This is my absolute number 1 tip!!


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