Rotator Cuff Exercises For Rehabing Shoulder Injuries

One of the most common injuries you’ll hear about in the gym is a shoulder injury. In fact it’s so common that virtually all advanced lifters have suffered some pops, pains, and strains in the shoulders at one time or another.

In fact, if you did an informal survey and simply asked the biggest and strongest guys in the gym if they have ever injured their shoulders during training, I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of them will say YES!

The root cause for most shoulder injuries is an imbalance between the front and rear heads of the deltoids. Very often guys will over work their front delts with bench presses, dips, overhead presses, etc. and the rear delts will receive only a fraction of the training volume in comparison.



This uneven development compounds overtime and eventually leads to injury. Now most of the time it’s only a minor pop or strain, but sometimes it can lead to a full blown tear in the rotator cuff muscle or tendon (which can be a real bitch to heal) and will hinder all of your workouts in the gym.

I’ve posted a video clip below that shows some exercises you can do in your workouts to help prevent rotator cuff and shoulder injuries from occurring. And if you already have a shoulder injury now I’ll show you some moves you can do to help rehab that injury so you can get back to normal training ASAP.



Note: if you can’t play the embedded video clip above, you can watch the video on my
YouTube Channel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9bvVGFYl-8

After you give these exercises a try, please post a comment below and let me know how they work for you… 😉

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com

78 Comments

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  • cameron scott

    Reply Reply

    very good & simple i have two stuffed shoulders from ju jitsu & these are great to warm up with
    keep up the great work

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  • Michael

    Reply Reply

    great workout, its really helping me recover from a rotator cuff injury at the moment, flexibility and strength is improving for me each time I workout!

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  • anand

    Reply Reply

    i think it works mr.lee coz aftr trying this that sholder problem is nt comin 4 me tanx a lot u rock dude and u are doin a gr8 service for us newbees

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  • michael dokun

    Reply Reply

    Excellent video Lee.It came just in time. As a matter of fact I do do face pulls myself. By the way is using a smith machine to do bench presses as good as the regular bench press. I’m trying to lift heavier on the barbell. Planet fitness only has smith machines, and I’m recovering from strange pains in my shoulders(I’m not sure but I think it’s from using the machines). Or should I go for a more expensive gym w/ free wts. I’m a little strapped for cash right now.

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  • Chris Andrew

    Reply Reply

    Great tipps lee thanks a lot. i am suffering as we speak from Rotator Cuff.i will sure give these exercises a try and post the results here. Do you think ice will also help?

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  • josh

    Reply Reply

    Hey I have a rotator cuff injury and i was wondering what muscle groups should i workout .. I reguraly bench 100 pound dumbells and I can’t even bench 40’s it hurts so bad. I cant do any benching or shoulders… I can do arms with no pain. I dont want to loose my size … is there anyway to fix a injured rotator cuff with out loosing my size? How long will it take to repair?

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  • josh,

    If it’s really painful, then it would be worth while to see a physiotherapist and get it checked out.

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  • Chris Andrew,

    Yes, icing your shoulders can help. Also alternating hot and cold water showers helps as well.

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  • ron s.

    Reply Reply

    michael dokun:
    Excellent video Lee.It came just in time. As a matter of fact I do do face pulls myself. By the way is using a smith machine to do bench presses as good as the regular bench press. I’m trying to lift heavier on the barbell. Planet fitness only has smith machines, and I’m recovering from strange pains in my shoulders(I’m not sure but I think it’s from using the machines). Or should I go for a more expensive gym w/ free wts. I’m a little strapped for cash right now.

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  • ron s.

    Reply Reply

    Lee,
    Great info. on injured rotator cuff(s), I will start using your examples now. My question to you!
    I was weeks into my training to get lean & ripped when i injured my shoulder again. So now that i can’t lift heavy because of the pain.
    What would you recomment as far as maybe different or new excercises i can continue with so that I don’t fall back. I was doing very well on my diet and training i just don’t want to have to take it easy for the next two or three weeks…
    As long as i don’t go to heavy with the weights i think i can still do some of the work outs. Can you help and maybe recommend work outs so that i can reach my goals. I’m 215lbs. 5’11” and
    15% body fat. My goal is to get down to 7 or 8% body fat…
    look forward to your reply etc…
    R.S.
    8/25/12

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  • michael dokun

    Reply Reply

    i always do face pulls b4 i bench press. i do 2 sets of 30 reps. I never really thought much about the rotator cuff exercises. I’ll have to include them in my L8R exercises.

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  • sal

    Reply Reply

    holy crap trish is hot as hell

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  • tom chiudioni

    Reply Reply

    i’m a senior (78) with both r/c torn. Have full rom but need to strenthen. can your rotator moves improve this . love golf , need this. thanks

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  • sanjay

    Reply Reply

    great exercises….i almost ^$%### up my shoulder by doing heavy bench but thank god its gettign better….i am going to include this exercise every workout from now on…

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  • Rickey

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee…how’s it going? I was writing to ask for advice on AC joints. My right AC joint makes a grinding noise when I do military presses. The X-Ray showed AC joint separation/strain. What can I do for speedy recovery? Are there exercises I can do for my shoulders that won’t harm the AC joint?

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  • Dave

    Reply Reply

    My man. Just what I needed. My shoulder has been aching forever. Hopefully when i get back in the gym this will be the key to relive this ache. Better than what my physical therapist had me doing with their run of the mill workout equipment.

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  • I really appreciate all advice on shoulder maintenance.

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  • Ro

    Reply Reply

    Thanks for the info, I injured my shoulder in December (non-gym related). I literally couldn’t move my arm above head height the next few days. Shoulder is much better during training since then, but these exercises will hopefully ease the remaining soreness. Still hasn’t fully healed, they can take a while.

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  • Mike Rogers

    Reply Reply

    Dear Lee was working out on a great program until I hurt my Right shoulder (cuff) thanks for the exercise examples I will give it a try really need the help. Tks agin.

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  • Excellent presentation in simple to understand plain English

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  • Chuck S

    Reply Reply

    I have 2 chains hanging from my basement ceiling I can put 2 handles or rings onto. I can then lean back and do the face-pull. I’ve seen advice to squeeze your shoulder blades together when you’re contracted. Also to pull your arms high, middle, and low, to hit different muscles.

    The single arm one sort of works with a handle, but I’m having a hard time getting the full range of motion. Dumbbells seem to work if you tilt your body. Lean far right and lift the dumbbell from straight down to straight up.

    Incidentally, you can increase range of motion a lot of times by tilting one part of your body the opposite way from another. For a bicep curl, start leaning back when the weight is down and lean forward as you’re lifting it. Then lean back again as you’re bringing it down. I’m not an expert, bt these ideas seem good.

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  • Beachbow

    Reply Reply

    Working out to CCR!! Oh, yeah!!

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  • kish

    Reply Reply

    Great tips lee…………..thank u sir!

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  • Ruben

    Reply Reply

    What do you recommend for a pain near the elbow, I am not sure about the right name for this part but is not a muscle (although is near the brachioradialis) nor a bone so I guess it migth be a tendon or ligament perhaps. The issue is that every time I perform side lateral raises, I feel pain again. Obviously, I stopped this exercise, but I want to resume as soon as possible. Thanks!

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  • Al

    Reply Reply

    Lee. My question is not rotor cuff issue but is related to shoulder pain I am experiencing. Recently after doing my shoulder, chest and triceps routine. A few hours after the workout I experience pain in my right shoulder. When going to get it checked out, I was told that it was my bicep tendon. Any tips on how to resolve. Also why am I feeing this pain on my shoulder when doing chest and triceps workout day and not my back and bicep workout day?

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  • Lynn Tran

    Reply Reply

    Thanks for this information…
    really I also used the Shoulder pillow to heal the pain from rotator cuff therapy.

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  • Thank you for sharing these exercises. Many people are suffering from shoulder injuries and this will be helpful but, of course, a professional health care provider’s opinion is needed before doing any exercises.

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  • Ken kuchinski

    Reply Reply

    Lee, fantastic video on rotater cuff excercises. I tore mine 1 year ago and tore part of the long head bicep at the same time. My bench press and dumbbell work suffered greatly. I will use the exercises you have shown and hope I can heal properly. Thank you sir.

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