The majority of cases related to shoulder pain are largely caused by rotator cuff problems. Injuries to the rotator cuff muscle are usually related to movements which include repetitive overhead motions or sudden forceful pulling motions. A rotator cuff injury can be any type of damage or irritation to the rotator cuff tendons or the muscle itself.
What is it and how does it function?
The rotator cuff is basically a group of four muscles and their accompanying four tendons which connect your upper arm (the humerus bone) to your shoulder blade (the scapula). Their main role is to stabilize the shoulder joint. The four tendons also stabilize it.
With a dumbbell in each hand, rotate the arms internally, so that your thumbs point to the floor when extended, like emptying a glass into a bin. Raise both arms from your sides, while keeping the thumbs pointing downwards at all times, until the dumbbells reach just below the shoulders.
The general conclusion here is that strengthening the rotator cuff muscles will allow you to lift heavier weights in lots of other exercises.
Weight training for the rotator cuff
In order to strengthen your rotator cuff you can try the following routine which will warm up the shoulder joint before your training session:
1. External rotations to the side – 3 sets of 25-30 repetitions
2. External rotations to the top – 3 sets of 25-30 repetitions
You can start this superset with no weight at first, then slowly introduce bands for some slight resistance, and at last use dumbbells. You should always warm-up the rotator cuff before doing any type of weight training which involves shoulder movements like shoulder, chest or back workout.
If you’re experiencing rotator cuff issues, you should absolutely avoid all exercises which you cannot perform with a proper form without experiencing some type of shoulder pain. The most common examples are any incline or flat pressing movements, military press, push-ups, pulling movements and exercises performed behind the head.
Nutrition for healthy rotator cuffs
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The same nutrition rules apply here as for any other muscle group. Always choose healthy fats like fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, avocado, any type of fish etc. If you want to rehabilitate shoulder injuries as fast as possible and prevent any future injuries from happening, you need to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles with a variety of exercises, a healthy fat intake and take supplements which promote joint health.