Rotator Cuff Routine.

Before you start an  exercise program consult your doctor first.

I injured my shoulder in 1998 . I did a lot of  research and find out that this is one of the best ways to work out the  shoulders.



Complete exercises in the specific order.

Each exercise is done for 30 seconds continuously. 

There is no rest between each exercise.

The quality of the exercise is more important than the  quantity.

Start with no weight at first and work on flexibility. 

Begin using 1 lb. weights progressing to 5 lb. weights  after 3 successful workouts ad 1 Lb.

Do not exceed 5 lb..

Listen to your body ( stop if you feel pain  )

Important points to remember about the rotator  cuff:

Keep it strong in the back and stretched in the front. 

Don't overwork or use too heavy weights or over-train  it.

Do the exercises always after upper body work or  throwing.

Do it 3 times a week off-season and 3-4 times a week  during the season


1 - Straight shrugs (pinch shoulders to  ears)

2 - Lateral Raises (palm down - only to 90 degrees) 

3 - Front Raises (palm down - only to 90 degrees) 

4 - Front Roll Shrugs (pinch backwards, then roll to  the top and backwards)

5 - Diagonal Raises (thumbs down - only to 90 degrees) 

6 - Backward Roll Shrugs (pinch forward, then roll to  the top and backwards)

7 - Lateral Rotation Raises (thumbs down rotated to  thumbs up at the top)

8 - Cross Chest Raises (bent elbows - touch opposite  shoulder)

9 - Internal-External Rotation (elbows tight to side -  swing arm and weight parallel to the floor)

10 - Internal-External Rotation External rotation  (side lying) - Lying on your left side holding your elbow at your hip with the  arm flexed to 90 degrees, bring the dumbbell from the ground close to your  abdomen

and externally rotate your shoulder until it is  parallel to the ground (no further).

11 - External rotation (90 Abduction) - Lying across a  flat bench so that you can support your shoulder and elbow which is straight out  from your shoulder (at 90 abduction) - let your elbow hang off the end of the  bench, grab the weight off the ground (your forearm should be vertical  -externally rotate your arm until the dumbbell is level with the  bench

12 - Horizontal Standing Fly's I (palms  down)

13 - Horizontal Standing Fly II (palms down meet palms  up)

14 - Horizontal Standing Fly III (palms up meet palms  down)

15 - Side Pull Up (thumbs to body - bring to arm pit) 

16 - Bent over rows (bring dumbbell to chest) 

17 - Side Pull Up Presses (same as #13 plus shoulder  press)

18 - Standing Over Head Lateral Press (dumbbells meet  over head and between legs)

19 - Triceps Presses (keep elbows tight to ears) 

20 - Biceps curls (keep elbows tight)

Mark  Fletcher- Sore shoulders Wed Nov 24 13:06:49 1999

I wanted to post (or  re-post) some of the exercises I, and others, talked about last week at the  OTC.

Recently, talking with health care  professionals whom I work with, I have found out a great deal about the scapular  stabilizers. These are the muscles which attach the shoulder blade to the  posterior chest wall and, thereby, effect the function of the much talked about  rotator cuff. They regulate the movement of the scapula relative to the shoulder  during the large ranges of motion seen in the shoulder joint. If the scapular  stabilizers aren't working properly it allows the scapula sag forward and causes  the rotator cuff to be overworked and abused very easily as it strains with all  the work being done while throwing.

The scapular  stabilizers I am concerned about are: serratus anterior, trapezius (upper,  middle, lower), and rhomboids (upper and lower).

While I won't go in to detail about the specific motions of the  scapula, I will outline a few exercises that have helped me out recently. For  most of us with recurrent shoulder problems (sore cuff muscles and biceps  tendonitis ) the scapular stabilizers are usually weak as well and definitely  contribute to our symptoms.

Serratus Anterior -  Exercise is called a push up plus. You start in a push up position allow your  shoulder blades to come together in the back and then push them forward as far  as possible without unlocking your arms. It can be done with your feet on a  bench and hands on a swiss ball for an advanced motion

Trapezius - The upper trap is not a concern. The middle and lower  trap are far weaker.
Middle Trap- lying prone (face down),  position your arms abducted to 90 degrees (make a T with your arms straight  out). With your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders down  and relaxed (no shrugging), move your thumbs towards the ceiling..hold...and let  down slowly. You should feel your shoulder blades touch and then slide laterally  as you lower your hands.

Lower Trap - lying prone, position your arms at  a high three quarters position ("Y" position). With your thumbs pointing at the  ceiling, raise your arms...hold...and lower slowly. You should feel your  shoulder blades slide down your back and then back(hard to feel, but if you do  it right you will feel the burn on the bottom of your shoulder  blades).

Both these exercises may also be  done standing (thumbs now point behind you) using a cable or stretch tubing.

Rhomboids - Prone in a T position (slightly lower T).  Now the thumbs are pointing towards the floor. Same movement pattern.

The rotator cuff exercises that are important to do  are external rotation. Holding your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees.  Pull a stretch tube (or pulley) across your body to full external rotation. The  rotation is around your humerus (upper arm) so don't lift that elbow to complete  the rotation. Can be done with dumbells if you lie on the floor on your side,  lifting the dumbell straight off the ground. Do this exercise from your delivery  position as well. Hold your elbow (bent at 90 degrees) straight out from your  shoulder(90 degrees of abduction) and pull the stretch tube (attached at ankle  height to something in front of you) up and back as you rotate your arm around  the axis of your humerous (point your elbow at something for reference and don't  let it move forward or back).

Because these are  small muscles that are used all the time it is best to train them for endurance  using sets of 2 for 20 reps (it can be done with more sets at lower reps: 3 x 12  or so). Concentrate on very slow eccentric movement - let the weight down very  slowly - because this is the action you want to train. The posterior shoulder  musculature functions to stabilize the shoulder in the joint and to decelerate  the arm after the throw - these are both eccentric motions. The weight should be  light enough to allow perfect form. Start with no weight and train the movements  first.

These muscles are all worked together by  doing exercises as bent over rows/flys, seated rows, lat pull downs/pull ups.  Concentrate on the scap stabilizers by keeping your shoulders down and relaxed  and pinching your shoulder blades together before slowly letting the weight  down.

Dave Masgay had a lot of good ideas with this  kind of work at the clinic. Marty has posted extensively on this as well. I hope  that they both comment.

Everybody has different  strengths and weaknesses. I don't think that we all need to work every single  little muscle separately but if you have shoulder problems you should definitely  address them before you injure your self. "An ounce of prevention...."

Good luck with this stuff, let me know if I need to  clear anything up, and tell me how they work for you.


Just to say Thanks to Dr. M. Fletcher. He help me out big time,  last year after a rotator cuff injury ( I was not able to raise my arm ) I ask  for advise in the forum and he gave me a list of exercises and lot of (mental  support). Today I feel great my shoulder is OK. About my experience, I found  that to much stretching slow down the recovery and creates imbalance. An  exercise that I found help me a lot with the imbalance was a simple over head  press with dumbbell's ( 5 to 10 pounds) I did a short push of the dumbbells on  top of the head both arms together at the same time, thumps pointing to the back  with straight arms push and turn the thumps in and try to touch the ears with  the biceps. A really short movement, but works.

Jesus Virella