Why is it important to stretch rotator cuff?
The mobility and range of motion of the shoulder primarily depend on the rotator cuff, which actually consists of four muscles and tendons. This is why even the slightest injury to the rotator cuff affects the shoulder and the person’s ability to move it. Injuries of this kind are particularly common among those who are into sports that require repetitive movements of the arm. In order to prevent such injuries, or minimize the risk of their development, it is highly recommended to perform stretching of the rotator cuff before a training session. Also, stretching exercises for rotator cuff are of crucial importance for those who have undergone a shoulder surgery and who are going through the recovery period. It is important to seek professional advice regarding the choice of exercises and it is important to perform them under professional supervision, at least in the beginning. No pain should be present while performing these exercises, which means that they should be stopped as soon as pain appears.
A few suggestions on rotator cuff stretching exercises
- Either in a standing or in a sitting position the person should raise one arm across the chest, while slight pressure near the elbow should be applied with the other hand. The pressure should be even and smooth and it should be held for half a minute. The same should be done for the other arm as well.
- Another exercise requires that both hands are clasped together behind the back, and then they should be raised towards the head as much as possible. Still, it is important not to exaggerate because no pain should be felt. The position should be held for 20 or even better 30 seconds before returning to the starting position.
- When the person is bent over, it is recommended to swing the arms back and forth for a while, and then to swing first one arm in a circular movement, making sure that the circle is gradually becoming wider. Then the same should be repeated for the other arm, and when the person feels a bit stronger, light weights can be used in each hand.
- A good stretch for rotator cuff also consists of simply bringing the shoulders down and squeezing the shoulder blades together in a standing position, while the hands are at sides. This position should be held for 10 seconds and not more, and it is enough to repeat the exercises 3 times.