Rotator Cuff Care

move of the week, rotator cuff muscles, SITS, tennis, racket sports, prevent injuries

With warmer weather approaching, tennis is just around the corner.  Maybe you plan to play on vacation or you’ve been playing all year round.  One thing you should be familiar with are four little muscles that surround and support the shoulder joint, affectionately referred to as the SITS muscles (Suprespinatus, Infrapinatus, Teres Miner, Subscapularis) or Rotator Cuff Muscles.  These muscles play a key role not only in tennis, but in any repetitive activity like racket sports, golf, baseball, etc, where they are too often over worked, overtaxed and just plain overlooked.  This often leads to injuries.  Similar to basic stretching, people tend to find “maintenance exercises” boring and time consuming UNTIL they injure said muscle(s).  Then it’s all about the regret.  These four muscles can be strengthened with 2 exercises.

For both exercises stand tall with your knees soft, abs engaged and pelvis tucked under.  Use a 2-3 pound weight (or soup can).

  1. With your elbow bent at 90 degrees and held against your torso, keep the elbow “glued” to your ribs as you open your bent arm away from your torso squeezing the shoulder blade.  Return your arm back and squeeze the arm into your torso.
  2. Begin with your arm extended straight out to your side at shoulder height, then bend the elbow up to 90 degrees (similar to the start position of a shoulder press). This time keep your arm “glued” at shoulder height.  Rotate your bent arm down until your palm is facing behind you and squeeze here.  Slowly return to the start position and then past it, so your palm faces towards the ceiling and squeeze here.

Do 13-15 reps of each exercise on both arms 1-2x per week.

NotesKeep breathing throughout.  Do not let your shoulders rise to your ears as you do these exercises.  Do each exercise slowly, remembering to squeeze at the end of each movement.

Harder: Do more reps; use a heavier weight – but don’t go too heavy – these muscles are small and you don’t want to strain them.

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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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