Recovering from rotator cuff problems? Try this

As a Personal Fitness Instructor & Muscle Balance Function Practitioner I can provide individualised and personalised services for you at great reduced rates.

Recovering from rotator cuff problems? Try this

Postby Canuck Singh » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:54 pm

The fact you cannot bench or shoulder press effectively does indicate rotator cuff problems. You do need to obtain an accurate diagnosis of your injury so you know exactly where you stand in terms of your rehabilitation avenues. This means, see a physio. The shoulder joint is one of such mobility, unlike say, the hip or elbow, its action patterns can be seen every biomechanical plane of movement. Also there are 4 rotator cuff muscles that 'hold' your shoulder joint in place during every one of these movements and this exposes you to a multitude of technical problems.

First what you need to do, with the help of a good physiotherapist, is diagnose exactly which rotator cuff muscle is impeding your range of movement ( tear, strain, scar-tissue, calcification etc). By carefully examining the movements of each exercise that does and does not cause you grief will form a clear pattern as to which joint angles/movements exacerbate your problem . Based upon this diagnosis you will then be able to determine what other exercises (movements) aggravate your shoulder. This will be based on the angle and ROM of the exercise. It may be a subtle alteration of elbow position that relieves your problem. Ie, pulldowns with palms facing you and a closer grip will be better than palms turned away and wide grip. Next is exercise selection, base this on the following.

1. Choose dumbbells over barbells and machines for virtually all your work. Dumbbells allow you to complete your own ROM (range of motion) while incorporating greater activation of these 'weakened' rotator cuff muscles. You may have to leave your 'strength ego' at home, and use baby weights for a while and very, gradually increase poundage.

2. Work within your own ROM. This means you should be able to perform 1/2 or 1/4 range type movements in most exercises with out discomfort. Ie, you may be able to perform the top half of a shoulder press, but not the deep decent of the bar to your shoulders. Utilize this ROM to maintain strength in that joint angle. Also incorporate the 'static' (held )part of the exercise for muscle fiber activation.

3. While some of the primary, mass-building exercises may definitely be 'out' of your muscle building arsenal, don't let this discourage you. Work with the exercises you can perform <nice> HARD! You will still grow muscle, remember overload and time under tension are the key principles of muscle growth and physique transformation. To provide varying degrees of stimuli you can experiment with poundages/rep ranges, movement speeds and tempos and slight alteration of joint angles.

4. If you do have difficulty bending to lift barbells off the floor while standing, then don't do it. Get some help or work around this by training in a 'power rack/cage'. The only way to keep progressing is to remain injury free, this means don’t do the exercises that cause pain. Simple huh? Eliminate the exercises that cause you pain and embrace the ones that don’t.

5. Finally, learn to love the Swiss ball. Become a master of core stabilization work.

When you do increase the level of strength of your core musculature (abs, lower back and hip muscles) you will be simply amazed at the regression of your back pain and increases in poundage of your lifts.
User avatar
Canuck Singh
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:40 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Re: Recovering from injury? Try this

Postby Canuck Singh » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:44 pm

Other than for the initial stages of injury rehabilitation and if there is no notable weakness in any of the four rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder joint; your basic internal-external dumbbell rotator cuff "rehab exercises" are of minimal value.

To maintain integrity and longevity of your shoulders it would be far more beneficial to complete a thorough stretching program that specifically incorporates the rotator cuff musculature. Generally, injuries that occur to this area are chronic (due to long term, repetitive use) and manifest over a period of years to the point of unrelenting pain and inflammation in certain movements. Classic examples are baseball players.

The rotator cuff muscles are only small "stabilizing muscles" that suffer extensive microtrama (tearing) due to the constant stretch shortening they perform during a throwing action. As a result these muscles become tighter and more fibrous (less elastic). The 4 rotator cuff muscles insert into the rear portion of gleno-humeral joint (rear deltoid area) and have to act as 'brakes' to hold the shoulder joint in place when a ball is thrown. These little muscles have to work real hard (eccentrically) upon release of the ball to keep the whole shoulder in place or your arm would go with the ball!

The mechanism of injury in bodybuilders and weight trainers is no different. Although you may not be constantly throwing a ball, the rotator cuff muscles work hard in every upper body exercise you perform in the gym. The heavier, more complex the exercise such as using free weights; the harder these muscles have to contract to provide stability and keep the shoulder in place. One reason shoulder problems occur in many people is that they train too often, performing too many upper body sessions per week!

Stretching rotator cuff muscles is difficult to do effectively on your own, it needs to be performed carefully with the help of someone that has at least half a brain and can communicate with you to work within and then build on your range of motion. It is best to seek a session with a good physiotherapist in your area to go through some specific rotator cuff stretching exercises. The stretching routine should take about 7mins. Perform them with a training partner every upper body workout, once you have completed a general warm up. Do this as often as you train your upper body and your shoulders will love you forever.
User avatar
Canuck Singh
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:40 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Re: Recovering from rotator cuff problems? Try this

Postby Canuck Singh » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:20 pm

The best rotator stretch involves your partner laying face down on the floor with his/her arms turned down and palms facing skyward. Have your elbows bent, so that the upper arms are at 90 degrees (a right angle) to your body, so that your limbs and body form an M shape. In this position your scapulae (shoulder blades) will be sticking up if you have tight rotator cuff muscles. You can always tell what arm your partner favors because the rotators will be tighter, forcing the bottom point of the scapulae up so that it will stick up and be felt easily through a T-shirt.

To stretch these muscles apply VERY GENTLE pressure to the point sticking up, so that you are in fact pressing the scapulae back down to the rib cage it sits on. With your other hand apply firm but not hard pressure to the shoulder, around the rear deltoid area. If you are doing these two things correctly your partner will probably be yelping, as it is an unfamiliar sensation first off. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and release gently. Communicate with your partner while performing the stretch so that you do not cause them pain or injury. Repeat on both sides.

When your partner gets up with a bewildered expression on their face watch as it changes to relief as they feel the “release” on the shoulder start to kick-in that this simple stretch provides.
User avatar
Canuck Singh
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:40 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada
---------


Return to Personal Fitness & Rehabilitation Services

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron