T Nation

Complaining About Rotator Cuff


Those guys who always complain because of the rotator cuff not enabling them to workout......

I used to be one of those guys... finally better. back to doing my 100 pushups a day... benching again w/ no pain... to anybody reading this there is hope...


Tell us how you healed your rotator cuff so that we can all learn something.


I traditionally have had a lot of issues in my left shoulder and still do. However, I have abated them somewhat by simply building muscle in the shoulder with auxillary exercises, and occasional military presses. For the military presses themselves, I have found that in the barbell press, keeping the weight ever so slightly in front of my shoulder helps stablize the joint. I'm also trying to build muscle and strength in my rear deltoids and upper back to correct my strength imbalance.


I've had issues with rotator cuff pain in the past..."past" being the key word. I made it a point to begin focusing on them with auxiliary work as well. Also, whenever a training session calls for ANY type of upper body movements, I take about 5-6 minutes and warm up my shoulders with external rotations and other
"cuff-specific" movements.

This might not seem like much, and in all honesty, I have no idea if 5-6 minutes is truly a sufficient enough warm-up. All I now is that I haven't had any "bad shoulder pain" in a very long time...knock on wood.


Gottatrain, what type of things do you do in your warmup?


I'll typically do a couple sets of lying external rotators and standing external rotations...a couple sets for each...light weight (10-15 lb. d-bells)between 12-15 reps/set. By the time I'm done, the blood's flowing to the area pretty nicely and my shoulders feel great. It's a nice little pump, but nothing too fatiguing. I think it also helps my range of motion when I'm benching, doing military presses, etc.


Strengthening the external rotators will be all some people need, but for some people there's an actual structural cause. In my case I had a type III acromion process. No amount of external rotations can make bone go away. It wasn't until I'd spent 2 years and thousands of dollars on PT, ART, accupuncture, etc. that a doctor finally prescribed an MRI and I ended up getting a much needed subacromial decompression.

Do try external rotations first and see if they help, but if the pain persists I would definitely recommend getting an MRI. 6 months of recovery from surgery is a hell of a lot better than years of constant pain and inability to exercise...