rotator cuff

should i work rotator cuff before or after my workout? im doing alot of heavy movements that involve my shoulder/rotator during the workout (really feel it on my push/press days), and ive heard conflicting opinions on whether to work it before or after.


Do it on a separate day from upper body. Almost all upperbody movements require some rotator cuff interaction so you must exercise care when you do any cuff work. Since they’re being worked pretty well during those movements the stress they endure then is enough work for them on that particular day. If you have a leg day that is about 2 days out from an upper body day do them in between sets or exercises then. It won’t increase your workout time, you’ll be working them in a state when they’re pretty much recovered and give them the attention the deserve. Nothing worse than a rotator cuff tear.

Don’t mean to jack your thread but I have similar question.

I’m doing an Upper Body/Lower Body split on days Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat. I’ve been doing HIIT on Wen and Fri and doing RC work prior to HIIT.

My question is do I need PWO for RC work? I always do my RC/HIIT work within 30 minutes of eating a P/F meal and eat another P/F meal usually within an hour after HIIT. Is this sufficient? I’m following Eric Cressey program.

You don’t necessarily need Surge after but you should have some sort of a PWO shake right after. It’s not going to hurt you. You’re still breaking down the muscle and you would want to repair them as quick as possible, correct? So get someting in you right after. I use GROW! after all small muscle group work and save Surge for the big muscle group days.

My ART doctor has told me to do Rotator Cuff work before any pressing movements as a warm-up. This is coming off a couple years worth of cuff injuries(never used to warm-up)…

I always heard that working them before your regular routine will make them more susceptable to injury. Why weaken them before your pressing movements? I would do it afterward ( a few sets 15-20 reps ). Just my two cents.

If you are performing external rotation exercise as a means of injury prevention it is a different protocol to someone who is performing the exercises as a therapeutic/rehab to an existing injury. This is why the A.R.T. pract. has prescribed a pre-pushing external rotational program. If you don’t have an injury, then you could perform the exercises after your main workout. Hope that helps.

some people i talk to say to do what a couple of you have said, just real light rotator cuff warmup before any pushing/pressing workout…

i usually work it after the push/press workout, but ive even read in some tmag articles they do like light cuban press etc as a warmup before working out on those days…

thnx, i think ill do real-light warmup rotator work, and hard rotator work every two weeks on my leg day (which has 2 days rest after it)…

working the rotator specifically with external/internal rotation exercises too much can also cause some problems? ive read it will decrease the space in there too much or something? :slight_smile:


Im experience it is best to do very light stretching/r.o.m. work to the cuff before going heavy on upper body work; however, if you are targeting the cuff for strengthening purposes, I would do it on a different day, or at the end of a relatively mild upper body day.

on another note, for the people who have had rotator cuff injuries and responded… how did they occur?

I don’t have a rotator cuff injury. But my bicep tendonitis came about due to degradation in bench form during a heavy set.

It doesn’t matter. I’ve done it both ways. Don’t stress, it’s a great warmup or great to fininsh off a workout.

I got mine from poor posture. I did plenty of bench and that caused it (kyphotic posture). Another contributing factor was that I use to play plenty of golf and didn’t have ideal spinal rotation. This meant that I had to compensate in the shoulder.

any further thoughts as to whether PWO is required for RC work that is geared towards injury prevention.

I was diagnosed 2 years ago with shoulder impingement. This was 10 years after I broke my collarbone and tore my rotator cuff at the same time. Ortho was performed after my collarbone healed and some therapy and it was good as new(So I thought.) The impingement was caused due to two things. The collarbone healed in a way that it slightly changed the angle at which my shoulder sits. To this day my left shoulder sits just a little lower. The other cause, which there was something I could do about, was due to muscle imbalances. The pec and anterior deltoid muscles were overpowering the upper back and posterior deltoid muscles. The therapist told me to stop benching “SO MUCH”(notice he did not say forever) and concentrate on pulling movements. Man was he ever right. After taking a good look at my workouts I found my back needed more work and the chest and shoulders needed less. I today will have aches and pains but it is nowhere near the point it was two years ago. Most of the time the pains are from not warming up properly. I currently do light rotator work before any benching/overhead lifting movements as part of a general GPP warm-up(Thanks to bigmartin!!). Every other day I do some light/medium weight work on the rotators for about ten minutes for recovery and prevention. I know you are thinking six days a week!? Yes it is not like a full-blown workout. It is just to keep blood flushed into the cuff and let it repair itself. You would be amazed how this will help.

A couple of my favorite exercise for the cuff are:

Swiss ball alphabet - Take a Swiss ball and hold it against the wall with you arm stretched out in front of you. Add/remove resistance by how hard you press on the ball. Now just draw the letters of the alphabet with you shoulder. If you can get through A-Z twice the first time I would be surprised. It wears out all the little muscles of the shoulder like you would not believe.

Swiss ball front V raises - Lay on a ball with arm stretched forward in a V to the floor. Take LIGHT dumbbells(5 or 7.5 lbs will be enough if you have never done them) and perform a front raise. Reps should be slow and in the range of 20-25. Remember these muscles are very small and often overlooked so some initial soreness from direct work is expected.

Last one is bent press and/or side press - Do a search for them in the article section for a full description. I know this is not a direct exercise for the shoulder but do a few and you will feel them in a weak shoulder. They seem to help my shoulder mobility as well.

If you can’t tell stability exercises have been the keys to my recovery. You want to take care of any imbalances first then strengthen and stabilize.

Just my $.02!!

Do 'em light before as a warmup and get more serious with 'em at the end as a means of strengthening them. That way you get a good warm up without opening yourself up to injury. The only thing I won’t do is rotator work the day before a DE/ME bench day.

thanks babyhuey, that swiss ball alphabet exercise is great, just tried it out to test it.

is bent press a ‘wind mill’ ? ive been doing them for a while they are pretty intense. (dumbbell in one hand, standing up, and press it up while tilting to the side ?) every time i do these someone comes up to me in the gym and has to comment on how that exercise is 1) dangerous 2) being performed incorrectly because im not staying perfectly straight 3) not a pure shoulder isolation movement.

not to go off topic but:


ever since ive started doing this strongman-type training routine ive gotten so many annoying opinions :slight_smile:

cheat curls/rows, alternating movements, bent press, chin negatives, and yes below parallel squats, are shunned in every commercial* gym it seems.


thanks for all the replys

IAMNOBODY - Yea they are the same. I get weird looks/comments too but the next time anybody says anything tell them to show you how to do it right. That always shuts 'em up!