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5 Great Rotator Cuff Exercises

The rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder. Keeping it strong will help prevent injury and improve performance.

The rotator cuff is the group tendons and muscles that support and stabilize the shoulder.  It helps the arm rotate and helps you perform many routine functions daily.  Many suffer from shoulder pain and injuries and this is because their rotator cuff is weak.  In fact, each year in the United States, as many as 6 million people visit doctors and clinics because of shoulder problems.

You can make your rotator cuffs stronger and prevent pain and injury by adding these 5 great rotator cuff exercises to your exercise plan.

External Rotator on Knee

Sit on a bench or on the floor with one knee up. Put your elbow on your knee. With your arm perpendicular to the floor, rotate your upper arm until your forearm is just about parallel to the floor. Slowly bring it back up to a vertical position. Repeat 12-15 times and do 1-3 sets. You can start without weights or a very low weight dumbbell.

Side-Lying External Rotator

For this exercise, you should lie on the floor on your side; use a towel or something soft on your hip to keep your arm at a right angle as your perform this exercise. With the elbow bent at 90 degrees, start with your forearm parallel to the floor and slowly raise it to a vertical position. Exhale as you lower it back to a horizontal position. Do 12-15 reps and 1-3 sets on each arm. Again, use a smaller weight to start with this exercise.

Wall Rotator Cuff

Stand with your back against the wall and your arms at a right angle and horizontal. Slowly inhale as you lower your forearms until they are just about horizontal to the floor but still at the right angle to your upper arms. Exhale as you move them back towards the wall. You do not have to touch the wall but will come close. Keep the weight moderate and move slowly. Do 12-15 reps and 1-3 sets.

Door Jam Chest Stretch

Stand in an open door frame and place your forearms against the frame and gently lean forwards. You can do this one arm at a time if it is more comfortable or you can use a tree or a wall to do this same exercise.

Hug a Tree Stretch

All you need for this exercise is a pole or a door handle or anything that is sturdy enough for you to grab onto and lean away. This is a great stretch for those who work at their desks all day long and does a great job on the rotator cuffs as well as the lower back. Place both hands on the doorknob and your feet about a foot away. Lean forward until your body is parallel to the floor.  Let your butt press back and your head fall between your shoulders. Press in slightly and you will feel all the tensions release from your rotator cuffs.

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