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Torn Rotator Cuff

I have a partially torn rotator cuff. Has anyone else experienced this?

What am I looking at rehab wise?

How long until I am back up at high numbers?


[quote]dolfansal wrote:
I have a partially torn rotator cuff. Has anyone else experienced this?

What am I looking at rehab wise?

How long until I am back up at high numbers?


Go see a doctor.

The rehab hurts like hell and lasts for months.

Yeah, go see a doctor.

If it’s partially torn, you probably don’t need surgery. Unlike many other injuries, rotator cuff injuries don’t heal well on their own with time.

The doc will help you out with what you need to do to rehab it.

Have you ever heard of Active release therapy?


In the name of God, give it proper time to heal and take it easy in building it back up. If it tears bad enough that it requires surgery to fix, the doctor told me that I could lose up to 25% of my strength potential through the shoulder girdle. Thankfully it didn’t go that far.

Best of luck in avoiding that fate.

I’d been experiencing rotator cuff problems, this book has been a lifesaver for me. It explains the mechanics of everything and then gives you a some programs to either prevent or re-hab rotator cuff injuries. It’s worked wonders for me.



I’d get to an orthopedic doctor and physical therapist ASAP.

I partially tore my left rotator cuff last July. I kept lifting as normal, thinking that it was just one of those pains that would go away. By October, I was noticably weaker in lifts like bench and any shoulder movements.

I went to my general doc, who prescribed an X-Ray. She assured me that since I had full range of motion (the only pain I felt when not lifting was when I would reach across with my left hand to my right shoulder) that it wasn’t a tear. When the X-Ray revealed nothing, she put me on Naprosyn and rest. After about two weeks, it seemed to feel better.

But after a week back in the gym, I was back to square one. I continued this pattern until December, when at another visit to the doc she reco’d an MRI and a visit to an orthopedist.

The MRI showed the slight tear. The orthopedist thought I had an excellent chance at recovery without surgery, and suggested physical therapy before surgery. I started rehabbing the shoulder in Feb, and now, I’m pain free. The full range of motion is back.

I’m working on getting the strength back now (I’m a long way off from matching my PR of 390 on the bench) and there is noticable atrophy in my left delt, pec, bicep, and tricep just from the limited work my left side got over the last 8 months (I dropped about 10 pounds of overall mass). But it’s coming back.

The PT is grueling…but it works. After about 8 weeks, the shoulder felt great. I’m continuing with rotator cuff specific exercises about 3X a week to keep it strong. I’ve also started Phase 1 of the Cosgrove/Waterbury shoulder program, and I’m happy with the results so far.

Don’t make the same mistake I did and hesitate before going to a doc. Had I started this process immediately, I could have rehabbed the shoulder faster, and lost much less in terms of mass and strength.

Good luck.

I irritated my left rotator cuff back in October. I say irritated because I don’t think I tore or even partially tore the thing…Anyway, I stayed off flat benching, or anything that made the pain worse, for 5 months…I got back to my PR bench about a month ago.

If it’s not too bad, try Ibuprofen (sp?)…The anti-inflammatories helped a great deal.

But it’s definitely NOT something to mess around with. I would get into to see a sports doc quick.

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Basically, I started with two sessions a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I do the following exercises (I’ll describe them the best that I can):

The first four were performed lying on my stomach on a high table, with my left arm hanging over the side. I started with a 3lb dumbell. All of these were for 20 reps, and aiming for a 3 second pause in the contracted position.

Lying shoulder extension (bring the arm straight back and up towards the hip).

Shoulder Stabilization (basically the “T” movement in a YTLW)

Shoulder Flexion (bring the arm straight forward towards the head)

90/90 rotation (think the “L” in a YTLW, only I would slide over on the bench so my upper arm was supported)

From there, I’d do 20 reps of sidelying external rotation with the same dumbell.

Then using resistance bands, a set of standing extensions (band attached to something in front of me, keeping the arm straight, hand by hip, and pulling straight back)

Then 20 reps of external rotation using a resistance band as well.

For one afternoon session a week, I’d actually go to the PT’s office, and we would work through the same routine. He would also add a few movements on some of the specialized equipment he had. This included 6 minutes on a handbike, some pushing/pulling movements using a pulley device, some cable rows, and external/interal rotations on a machine that provides resistance in both directions.

I hope I have been clear enough in explaining the exercises, I’d be happy to give more details if you need them.

In 6 weeks, I had worked up from using the 3 pound dumbell, and barely being able to hold a pause at all on many of the exercises, to an 8 pound dumbell, and being able to hold for 3 seconds. At that point, I was able to cut down to one session a day for about four weeks. Now I am working through this cycle of exercises every other day, and mixing in phase one of the Cosgrove/CW shoulder workout. I usually do these sessions in the morning, and my main workout is in the afternoon. If I am doing something like bench, with heavy shoulder usage, I’ll do 2-3 of these movements first to prep the shoulder.