Beginning Therapeutic Exercise for the Rotator Cuff

Doorway Stretch:

Pectoral Stretch

Standing in a doorway, place your arms on the frame (the shown positions A, B, C all stretch as different portion of the pectorals so try them all). With one leg in front, step through while keeping your head and chest up. You should feel a stretch across your chest and into the front of your arms. Hold for 30 seconds. Perform 3-4 times a day.

Posterior Capsule Stretch:

Grab the back of the arm and pull it across the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Do 3-4 times a day.

Posterior Shoulder Rolls:

Shrug the shoulders up and backward and then relax down and forward.  The goal is a backward circling motion. Do 10-20 times, 1-2 times a day.

Shoulder extension stretch:

Standing, slowly bring the arms back and squeeze the shoulder blades together. You should feel a stretch across the chest and muscle contraction between the shoulder blades (postural strengthening). Hold for 10-15 seconds. Do 5-10 times, 1-2 times a day.

Shoulder PREs: (with therapy resistance bands)

Using the resistance band (choose a color that allows you to complete the full sets with mild-moderate difficulty). Perform 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions in a PAIN-FREE range of motion. Do these 3 times a week (and never before practice – always on off days or after).

External Rotation: Stand facing to the side with the arm across the stomach.  Keeping the elbow still and at your side (think of it as the hinge on a door) pull the band out by twisting the arm out.  Be sure to keep the elbow bent to 90 degrees throughout (so only go as far out as you can without breaking form).  Return the arm to the starting position slowly.

Abduction: Stand facing the side with the band anchored across the body.  With the elbow bent, raise the arm out to the side.  If more of a challenge is needed, perform with the arm straight (this puts greater torque on the rotator cuff). Only go as high as shoulder level.  Return slowly.

Rows (labeled extension): Stand facing the anchor-point of the band.  With the arms bent, pull the hands STRAIGHT back against your sides as you pinch your shoulder blades together.  (Think of sliding your hands across a level table).

Internal Rotation: Stand with the band to your side, elbow bent to 90 degrees.  Pull the arm in to your stomach.  Again, keep the elbow in one place (think of it as the hinge on a door) and rotate the arm around it.  Return slowly to the starting position.


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