Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Rotator Cuff Tear Rehabilitation

Rotator cuff tear rehabilitation is a long and involved process. No matter if you have had surgery or are recovering naturally from a tear.

I want to give you specific information on how to successfully strengthen rotator cuff muscles using rotator cuff exercise. In this section I want to share with you the method you can use to avoid any future rotator cuff problems.

Once you move on to strengthen rotator cuff muscles you are getting towards the end of the rotator cuff tear rehabilitation process, or are you?

I genuinely believe there is no such thing as the end of the process. If you want your rotator cuff tear rehabilitation to have been and remain a success then continuing with a rotator cuff exercise schedule is the key.

rotator cuff tear rehab

Why go through all that you have, the pain, the hard work just to stop now and allow it all to go to waste? Similarly if you are into sports involving a lot of overhead work there is a chance you may develop a problem with the rotator cuff in the future.

Do not forget a high proportion of us develop rotator cuff problems as we get older. People who are generally active are less likely to be affected by rotator cuff problems so it is clear that rotator cuff exercise benefits all. So just exactly what is rotator cuff strengthening and how is it achieved.

Resistance Training

The most popular form of resistance training involves the use of weights. The idea is to selectively and progressively train specific muscles to build strength over a period of time.

What I want to focus on is what is known as Progressive Resistance Exercise (PRE). PRE is the most popular form of resistance training and is an ideal program for strengthening exercises for rotator cuff problems.

Progressive Resistance Exercise

Basic progressive resistance exercise programs were first developed after World War Two. It was at this time researchers developed weight training schedules to improve the strength of injured limbs.

The procedure involved a structured approach of using three sets of exercises, each consisting of 10 repetitions, done one after another, without resting. These basic principles still apply today although I discuss variations below.

The first thing that must be done is to establish what the maximum weight is that you can use and still be able to perform an exercise 10 times; this becomes your "10-RM" weight.

This will vary for everyone so it is important that you find out for yourself. If you can comfortably do 15 repetitions it is too light and if you struggle to do 7 it is too heavy.

Pick a weight that you can do 10 times but feel an eleventh attempt would be beyond you. This is the starting point for you to strengthen rotator cuff muscles so it is important to get it right.

Once you have established your 10-RM you should do three sets of 10 repetitions. The first set requires one half of the maximum weight, or � 10-RM; the second set uses � 10-RM and the final set 10-RM requires maximum weight.

So let's say the maximum weight you can do 10 repetitions with is 4lbs then that becomes you 10-RM weight. Your � 10-RM weight is therefore 2lbs and your � 10-RM weight is 3lbs.

What was found by following this particular method was that certainly strength increased. As this happened then the weight used for the 10-RM measurement had to be increased accordingly.

This is necessary to allow for continued strength improvements. Remember that muscles increase in strength when trained close to their current force generating capacity.

One interesting point noted was that it mattered little in which order the sets were performed. Similar strength improvements occurred even when reversing the intensity progression; so doing the 10-RM first had the same results as starting with the 1/2 10-RM.

This little video although directed at the golfer explains the basic principles very well. The video details an external rotation rotator cuff exercise. The presenter starts with 6-8 repetitions but the principles remain the same.

Variations of PRE over time

Over the years studies into PRE and rotator cuff tear rehabilitation schedules have attempted to improve on the basic model. A lot of work has gone in to try to determine the optimal amount of exercise to be undertaken.

Things like the number of sets and repetitions, including frequency and relative intensity of PRE training for maximum strength improvement.

Remember that a lot of these studies are targeted at serious weight lifting. This is not what rotator cuff exercise or rotator cuff tear rehabilitation is necessarily about but it is interesting and the findings are generally as follows.
  • . Performing between 3-RM and 12-RM provides the most effective number of repetitions to improve strength.

  • . No particular sequence or PRE training with different percentages of 10-RM proves more effective so long as one 10-RM set is included

  • . Performing only one exercise set produces only slightly less strength improvement than performing two or three sets.

  • . Single set programs, although not producing optimal strength improvement, generally produce most of the health benefits of multiple set programs for healthy adults and some people with chronic disease.

  • . Single set or "lower volume" programs generally produce greater compliance by the individual and reduce the financial and time commitments required.

  • . The optimum number of training days per week for PRE remains unknown. Significant strength increases occur for beginners with as little as one day per week.

  • . If PRE training includes multiple exercises, training 4 or 5 days per week may cause less improvement than training 2 or 3 days per week. This is because it can impede recuperation after training and retard progress in strength development.

  • . A fast rate of movement for any given resistance generates more strength improvement than movement at a slower rate.

  • . Neither free weights (dumbbells, barbells etc.) nor any of the diverse types of resistance exercise machines show any superiority in developing muscle strength.
What does all this mean for your Rotator cuff tear rehabilitation and efforts to strengthen rotator cuff muscles?

Remember your rotator cuff tear rehabilitation is not aimed at turning you into a world class weight lifter.

You simply need to work on some basic exercises for rotator cuff problems that will strengthen rotator cuff muscles.

What is clear from the above information is that this can be achieved fairly easily. Even if you start with this minimal program you will strengthen rotator cuff muscles and complete your rotator cuff tear rehabilitation.
  • 1. Complete a variety of rotator cuff internal / external / abduction exercises.

  • 2. Work out what your 10-RM figure is for each exercise.

  • 3. Do only one set to the maximum 10-RM workout for each exercise.

  • 4. Repeat once or twice per week.

It really can be that simple. If that is all you can squeeze in then at least complete this limited workout.

The more you do the stronger you will become but this is a great start.

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