Colorado Orthopedic News

shoulder stretching

Rotator Cuff PT Exercises

For patients recovering from an injury of the rotator cuff PT exercise are key. PT – or physical therapy – supports the healing of rotator cuff injuries – whether post-surgery, or for someone working to stabilize and strengthen their rotator cuff.

Your doctor or orthopedic surgeon may prescribe rotator cuff PT exercises that you do in a clinic with a specialist, and they may also recommend exercises you can do at home. Physical therapist Carole Reda helps rotator cuff patients on the road to recovery every day. She walked us through three common rotator cuff PT exercises that can be done at home with just a few simple and affordable resistance bands and light weights. Both can be found at most sporting goods stores, or online.

Each exercise is described below and is often done in two “sets” of 10 each, but check with your doctor for your specific needs, and be sure to watch Carole’s demonstration in the video to follow the correct form:

Rotator Cuff PT Exercise #1: The Row
This exercise is excellent for shoulder stability.
1. First, loop the band through a sturdy item like a handrail or door handle and center the band so there are equal amounts of band on each side. [Important safety tip: always avoid looping the band through furniture or any other item that could tip and fall when pulled.]
2. Stand away from the anchor point so that the band is loose in your hands when your upper arms are straight at your side and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
3. Then, keeping your shoulders down, slowly pull the band toward you, extending your elbows back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
4. Keep your motions slow and controlled.

Rotator Cuff PT Exercise #2: Shoulder External Rotation
1. Stand sideways so that the anchor point of your band is on one side of your body. Position the shoulder you want to exercise furthest from the anchor point.
2. Hold the band in your hand, keeping your elbow tight against your body and position your forearm in front of your stomach.
3. Rotate your forearm out and away from your stomach, keeping your upper arm and elbow against your body.

Rotator Cuff PT Exercise #3: “Is, Ys and Ts”
1. I’s: Stand with small weights (or no weight as recommended by your doctor) in each hand. Keep your arms straight and start with your hands by your sides. Raise your arms in front of you until they are even with your shoulder.
2. Y’s: Start in the same position with the weights, but this time raise your arms out at a 45-degree angle from your body, to create a “Y” shape with your arms.
3. T’s: Again, start with your arms at your sides. Raise both arms straight out from each side to shoulder height to make a “T” shape with your body, and then lower them back to your sides.

So, now you know three new rotator cuff PT exercises that can help support your treatment plan. As You can find all of these and more info about physical therapy on our website.

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