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Rotator Cuff Muscles and Low Weights

Low weights

Every day you put your shoulder through a multitude of movements without giving it a second thought.

You count on your shoulder to always be ready when you need it. The shoulder can take a lot of abuse.

Proper care can help prevent an unnecessary shoulder injury.

If you have already suffered an injury to this vital joint, then it is important that you rehabilitate the shoulder to maximize the strength and increase the mobility to keep you from re-injuring the shoulder later.

The rotator cuff

Four small muscles make up the rotator cuff and are responsible for keeping the shoulder joint intact and working properly. The 4 muscles and their respective responsibilities are:

1. Supraspinatus muscle sits on the top of the shoulder and is responsible for the upper arm lifting up and away from the body.


2. Subscapularis muscle is in the front of the shoulder. It function is to rotate the shoulder joint inwards.


3. Infraspinatus muscle is on the back of the shoulder and rotates the shoulder joint outwards.


4. Teres Minor muscle also sits on the back of the shoulder and is also responsible for outward rotation of the shoulder.


These 4 muscles work in conjunction with each other to stabilize the shoulder joint. While these muscles are small in size they carry a huge load. Exercising the shoulder muscles incorrectly can lead to serious shoulder injuries.

Deltoid muscle

The deltoid muscle, the large muscle that sits on top of the rotator cuff, also works in movement of the arm forward, up and backward. The deltoid muscle depends on the rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder joint during arm movement. Strong rotator cuff muscles will decrease the strain put on the deltoid muscle.


When exercising the rotator cuff muscles the following suggestions will help you to maximize their potential while minimizing the damage:


• Choose your weight carefully. Because the rotator cuff muscles are so small, using an oversized weight can put undue strain on the deltoid. Ideally you should not use a weight heavier than 3 kg (6.6 lbs.).

• Do not start off with a heavier weight. Start light and gradually work with increasing weight.

• Keep the movement slow and controlled. Faster is not better.

• Keep your wrists neutral.

• Warm up before and after exercise to allow the muscles to function more efficiently.

Your shoulders are used many times every day. Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles will give you increased mobility and stability in your shoulder.

Exercising with too much weight can cause undue strain on the deltoid, take care to exercise the shoulder properly following the tips outlined above.

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