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Training with Rotator Cuff Injury

Last week I noticed my right shoulder didn’t feel right whilst training and over the last few days has got worse and today I was told I had damaged my rotator cuff. I can still lift but I don’t want to do any more damage to it but I still want to train. I have been looking at various high rep routines to keep the volume high but the weights low and will obviously ease off the shoulder movements until its feeling better. Any more advice on this would be great. I can’t just sit on my arse and do nothing.

I posted this in the injury section but no replies

I assume you seen a physical of some sort and had it evaluated?

Following up on @bulldog9899’s point: Who told you this (ie, an ortho doc, a GP, a radiologist, etc), and what is the plan for addressing it?

Yeah it’s not a bad injury but says I need to lay off heavy lifting and mainly overhead movements for a while so I am taking this opportunity to maybe change my training up a bit and go for more volume endurance style.

Unless it’s just the case that you prefer following a template, you probably don’t need to change your routine other than 1) reducing the weights/increasing the reps, and 2) dropping any/all movements that aggravate your shoulder.

That’s what you should do short-term. But there’s something even more important you need do vis a vis the long-term, and that is figure out what you’re doing that jacked up your shoulder in the first place, and stop doing that. Because the rotator cuff is like a vindictive girlfriend–it never completely forgets, and never completely forgives. The point being, if at some point you slide back into doing what damaged it initially, your shoulder issues will return–with a vengeance.

Edit: Upon reflection, the rotator cuff isn’t a vindictive GF, it’s a vindictive wife. I say this because you can always drop a crazy-vindictive GF and replace her with a sane version, but this option is not available to you vis a vis your shoulder. No, you and your vindictive shoulder are married for life–in sickness and in health, and for better or for worse. So you better do whatever it takes to repair this relationship going forward, otherwise she’s going to make your life miserable.

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I had the same problem, actually worse since I partially tore supraspinatus, subscapularis, and long head bicep tenton. I was told to have a surgery if I want to continue lifting seriously but so far my shoulder feels way better and most of my strength has returned with physio only.

First of all, I suggest you dont do any movement if it really hurts. I know it sucks, but trust me, a week off is way better than 3 months off.

If you can perform movements without significant pain you should incorporate some external rotations. My physio had me make a variaty of external and internal rotations from various positions, but to keep it simple just perform some external rotations of a kind. 5 sets of 10 or so should be sufficient. You can also perform some internal rotations but I suggest to use a ratio of 3/1 ext-int.

What I also did was dropping all overhead movements since its the primary cause of rotator cuff wear.
I found bench pressing with sligtly narrower grip to be ok. that was sufficient for my pushing strength until my shoulder rehab was over.
I also exchanged pull ups with rows since vertical pulling, especially pull ups (abduction+external rotation) seemed to impact the rotator cuff.
Loads should not be very heavy, I stayed around the 10 rep range most of the time (quite high compared to my usual training) and only did one set to exaustion.
I found light accessory movements to be fine to keep working and strengthening my delts without stressing rotator cuff out. Particularly I found Waterberry’s and Cossgrove’s “monster shoulders in 8 weeks” first phase to be very useful for that purpose.
Remember to give time to see how your shoulders feel after every workout (the next day) and proceed accordingly.

Hope that helps, wish you a quick recovery

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