Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Rotator Cuff Rehab Exercises

Rotator cuff rehab exercises are the most important factor in rotator cuff tear rehab. In fact, rehab from any rotator cuff problem, will include a large element of rotator cuff exercises.

It is a simple, proven fact that recovery time for rotator cuff problems is dramatically reduced by following a rehab program.

One of the major reasons given by doctors for a failure in surgical recovery is a lack of patient compliance with rehab exercise programs

Throughout this site I have given many examples of different rotator cuff rehab exercises. What I want to share with you now is a basic rotator cuff training guide.

I want to give you an understanding, not only of what actual exercises to do, but also of other important elements such as

  • how often should you work out
  • importance of rest / sleep
  • diet
  • stretching
  • warm up / cool down
  • Ice baths!! (thankfully a little excessive for a rotator cuff)

Rotator cuff rehab exercises

Rotator cuff rehab exercises fall into four major categories.

  • -Isometric
  • -Stretches
  • -Weights
  • -Resistance bands


Rotator Cuff Rehab ExercisesI suppose each of these categories could be broken down further but they are enough for our purposes here.

If you have had a rotator cuff tear of any sort, surgery, a tendon injury such as tendonitis then rotator cuff rehab exercises will be required.

You will probably have been given a basic exercise routine to follow. You will then have been sent off to “do your rehab” and report back in 2 or 3 weeks.

If you are like the vast majority of people this is of little or no use to you. I know I was still uncertain of what I was doing and more importantly why.

Setting about an exercise routine for the first time can be daunting. Let’s see if I can break down some of the barriers for you.

There are no rights and no wrongs in choosing which exercises to do. Any type of exercise from those shown above will aid in your recovery. For best results a mixture of all types will be beneficial.

Think about it like this, your shoulder is required to work naturally in many different ways. To exercise it through the full range of movements a full range of exercise are required. As I have said elsewhere on this site many times, use some imagination and make it fun.

Listen to your body

The most important thing you can do to reduce the recovery time for rotator cuff rehab is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, have pain, or a reduction in performance, it means you need more recovery time. In some cases a complete break from exercise may be required.

Physical therapy exercises which require a little and often approach differ markedly from the rehab phase. It is important not to over train. If you pay attention then in most cases your body will let you know what it needs and when it needs it.

Most people understand the benefits of exercise

  • -Improved performance
  • -Increased endurance
  • -Reduced body fat
  • -Elevated mood

One of the most important factors that affect the benefits gained from exercise is recovery. The vast majority of people do not have an exercise recovery plan. This is despite the fact that a post exercise routine can have a huge impact on gains in strength and performance.

A muscle requires anywhere from 24 – 48 hours to repair and rebuild itself. Working it again too soon, simply leads to tissue break down instead of building. For any weight training routines it is essential never to work the same muscle groups two days in a row.

Ten simple steps to recover quickly from rotator cuff rehab exercises

1) Rest – the boy has an incredible way of taking care of itself if you give it time. Exercise is important, rest is critical, do not overdo it.

2) Warm up and cool down – always warm up before exercise and don’t just stop gradually cool down by moving around at low intensity for 5 – 10 minutes after exercise.

3) Stretch – if you only do one thing after a workout make it gentle stretching.

4) Replace fluids – you can lose a lot of fluid during exercise. Ideally try to replace it as you exercise, but filling up after exercise is a simple way to boost your recovery.

5) Eat properly – your body needs fuel. Ideally eat within 60 minutes of exercise and try to include high quality proteins and complex carbohydrates.

6) Active recovery – easy, gentle, controlled movements such as low intensity aerobic exercise improve circulation. This in turn improves the body’s processes and helps muscles repair faster.

7) Ice bath – as I said above a little severe for a rotator cuff so let’s restrict it to localised ice treatment. Some people swear by alternative water therapy such as alternating hot and cold showers. My advice try it – if it works for you, it works for you. I am not a fan of ice baths!!!!

8) Massage – massage improves circulation, allows you to fully relax and feels great. If you can’t afford a professional, simply massage the area yourself.

9) Sleep - get lots of sleep. While asleep your body does some incredible things. The healing process continues unabated.

10) Avoid over training – excessive exercise will limit any fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts. Exercise a maximum of every other day. Your shoulder will be working naturally between times anyway.


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