Rotator cuff muscles help stabilize your shoulder such that the four muscles that comprise the shoulder can perform actions like lifting and rotating your arms. Without the support of these muscles and tendons, your shoulder will not function correctly. Human actions that you normally take for granted such as sweeping the floor, hitting the golf ball, and throwing the bowling ball will all be for naught if your cuff muscles are weak.
In this light, you should keep your cuff muscles healthy and strong by engaging in simple exercises that you can complete by yourself, even without the guidance of a fitness instructor.
Ideal Exercises for Your Rotator Cuff Muscles
For the following routines, it is highly advisable that you do some stretching exercises first before you begin your fitness session. You might want to use free weights or resistance bands while doing your routines to make the exercises more challenging.
This lying external rotation exercise is done while lying down on your side either on the floor or on an exercise bench. Lie on your left side with the left hand acting as head support. Stack your legs together and bend your knees. Hold free weights with your right hand and position your right arm at a right angle (like an L-shape position).
Let your right elbow rest on your hip while the right arm is positioned across your stomach. Exhale and rotate or twist your right arm up (with the right hand pointing towards the ceiling), ensuring that the right elbow is tucked in place. Slowly bring down your right arm until you are back to your starting position. Do 8 repetitions on both sides.
Another exercise that can help strengthen your shoulder area is called internal rotation. Lie on your left side and bend the left arm at 90-degrees with the elbow facing towards the ceiling. Ensure that your right hand is resting at your side.
With the dumbbell in your left hand, slowly rotate your left arm inwards by slowly raising your forearm to your chest. Gradually return to your original position and repeat the exercise 8 more times. Do the same with your other shoulder.
Ensuring that your rotator cuff muscles are strong will help prevent possible tears on the muscles and tendons. In fact, even the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that everyone should do strength-training exercises just to make sure that the various muscle groups are kept flexible and strong. According to the association, you should indulge in strength training at least twice a week, with at least two days interval before subjecting yourself to the second session.
Try to bear in mind that the rotator cuff is made up four small muscles. Never exercise with excessive weight, a few pounds is more than enough. That said the shoulder is tough; if you take care of it it will last you a lifetime.