Health and Fitness

Key Steps to Protect Your Rotator Cuff

Basically our shoulders are a ball and socket joint. It is a hyper mobile structure that is moved primarily by our rotator cuff muscles.

Unfortunately, it is very susceptible to both chronic and acute injuries. This may include inflammation, impingement or “pinching” of the rotator cuff muscles between the shoulder and arm bones, or even rotator cuff tears.

There are two key ways to prevent rotator cuff injuries. Number one is to always use proper lift techniques throughout your day. This applies to reaching back for something behind you at work or even lifting your luggage off the conveyor belt. Always do lifting close to your chest, avoid heavy overhead lifting and never do lifting at the extreme, end-range motion.

The second key way to prevent rotator cuff problems is focus more on your posterior muscles of the back. Just like it it is very common for people to have muscle strength imbalance between their quads and hamstrings, it is also very common to have chest muscles that are disproportionately stronger than their back muscles. For improved rotator cuff joint health and pain free mobility, you need to strengthen your posterior back and shoulder retractor muscles.

Two simple exercises that you should do every other day to accomplish this goal are rowing and posterior flies. You can do rowing on a machine at a gym or if you have an elastic therapy band, you can tie it to a door knob and sit or stand and do rowing activities. To do posterior flies. get two reasonably light dumbbells and stand with approximately 20° of flexion at your waist and with your elbow extended bring the weights from directly in front of you backwards to your side. Do each one individually and then together.

The key point to remember when doing post your back exercises is to squeeze your shoulder blade or scapula together to provide an additional interscapular muscle contraction. These muscles help maintain good posture and shoulder alignment. In the long run this will enable you to maintain pain-free shoulder range of motion and decrease your risk of shoulder injuries.

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