You can end up putting your shoulder through a huge range of movements without thinking about it. Your shoulder is an important joint that you need to look after.
The correct care can help prevent unnecessary shoulder injuries. If, however you do suffer an injury to this major joint, then it is important that you rehabilitate the shoulder correctly in order to protect your shoulders natural strength and to increase its mobility, to keep you from re-injuring the shoulder.
Four muscles make up the rotator cuff and are responsible for keeping the shoulder joint in place and working correctly. The 4 muscles and their individual responsibilities are:
- Supraspinatus. This muscle sits on the top of the shoulder and is responsible for the upper arm lifting upwards and away from the body.
- Subscapularis. This muscle is in the front of the shoulder. It is used to rotate the shoulder joint inwards.
- Infraspinatus muscle is on the back of the shoulder and rotates the shoulder joint outwards.
- Teres Minor muscle also sits on the back of the shoulder. This muscle is also responsible for the outward rotation of the shoulder.
These 4 muscles work together to stabilize the shoulder joint. While these muscles are small, they can often carry a heavy load. Exercising these muscles correctly can help to protect the shoulder. Exercising these shoulder muscles incorrectly can lead to serious shoulder injuries.
The deltoid muscle is the large muscle that sits on top of the rotator cuff, and works in movement of the arm forward, up and backward. The deltoid muscle depends on the rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder joint during arm movement. Strong rotator cuff muscles will help to minimise the strain put on the deltoids.
Rotator Cuff Exercises
When exercising the rotator cuff muscles the following points will help you to maximize their potential while minimizing any possible damage:
Choose your weights carefully and start off light. Because the rotator cuff muscles are very small, using an oversized weight can put undue strain on the deltoid. You should not use a weight heavier than 3 kg (6.6 lbs.).
Do not start off with a heavier weight. Start light and gradually work with increasing weight. You are trying to train your rotator cuff muscles; heavier weights will only start to develop other heavier muscles.
Keep all your movements slow and controlled. Fast is not better.
Try to keep your wrists in a neutral position.
Make sure to warm-up before and after any exercise to allow the muscles to function more efficiently.
Your shoulders are used many, many times throughout the day. Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles will give you increased mobility and stability in the shoulder joint.