Rotator Cuff muscle weakness can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome or rotator cuff tendonitis, both painful conditions of the shoulder. Performing simple strengthening exercises of the Rotator Cuff muscles 2 or 3 times a week can help to eliminate the cause of the problem so your shoulder can feel better, especially with overhead work.
As with all strengthening exercises, using correct form and technique, using proper weight and allowing one or two days between strengthening sessions for the muscle to regenerate and grow are important. If you have suffered a recent injury or fall you need to be sure you don’t have a fracture or significant tear of any structures of the shoulder joint before performing these exercises. Discontinue or seek medical advice if pain begins or worsens from the exercises.
As the Rotator cuff muscles are small muscles use lighter weights and 15 repetitions in each set. This could mean anywhere from 2 to 15 pounds as a starting weight. You can increase the weight over time, by no more than a pound or two per every one or two weeks if you are capable of doing so without overworking the muscles. Perform 3 or 4 sets of repetitions for each exercise. Use controlled movements and exhale when contracting the muscle.
You can use a cable pull or an exercise band that is securely attached to something safe that will hold the band from coming loose and causing you a potential injury. Keeping the elbows tucked in close to the body at all times, start as shown on the left and rotate the arm inward, pulling the cable towards the chest as shown. Use a smooth and controlled contraction. Relax and repeat.
Start with the arm close in to your body and while keeping the elbow tucked in close to your side, as in the picture on the right. With a smooth and controlled contraction rotate the arm outward and pull the cable across your abdomen. Relax and repeat.
Sit or kneel next to a workout bench, table, or arm rest of a chair so you can place your elbow on it for support. Adjust your position in relation to the support so that your elbow is 1 or 2 inches lower than your shoulder, and the elbow is straight out to the side of your body.
Using a light weight in your hand, start with the hand in the down position as shown in the picture on the left. Contracting your rotator cuff muscles in a controlled fashion, rotate the arm into the up position as shown. Relax and lower the arm and repeat.