A Push Up Tweak to Rehab the Rotator Cuff

In this video, I wanted to go through a great little tweak that you can do to the push up in order to target the rotator cuff better.

You may have heard of the rotator cuff, or you have experienced a rotator cuff injury. Most people are not aware of what the rotator cuff really is. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that protect the shoulder joint and allow you to rotate your arms and move your arms above your head, such as when you are playing sports or swimming. The rotator cuff is made of muscles and tendons that work to keep the head of your humerus (your upper arm bone) in your shoulder socket. There are four rotator cuff muscles. The supraspinatus muscle holds your humerus (upper arm bone) in place and stabilizes the humerus. It also helps you lift your arm. The infraspinatus muscle is key for rotating and extending your shoulder. Your teres minor muscle is the smallest of the rotator cuff muscles and assists in rotating your arm away from your body (external rotation). Finally, the subscapularis muscle helps hold your humerus to your scapula (shoulder blade). It also helps you rotate your arm, hold it straight out and lower it.

Some common rotator cuff injuries include a rotator cuff tear, tendinitis and bursitis. A rotator cuff tear often occurs as a result of wear and tear from everyday use. That is why this injury is more common in individuals who move their arm in the same way repeatedly, such as painters, carpenters, or certain athletes. You can also experience a rotator cuff tear if you fall suddenly on your arm or lift something really heavy. Tendinitis is inflammation in the tendon. A tendon attaches a muscle to a bone, so in this case the tendon attaches one of the four rotator cuff muscles to a bone in the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tendinitis causes pain just outside of the shoulder joint. Bursitis is when a bursa (which is a small, fluid-filled sac that protects the rotator cuff) gets irritated. This can also happen from repetitive movements, or by an infection. Many rotator cuff injuries can be treated at home or with a physical therapist, while others require medical attention, medication and even surgery.

This push up tweak involves utilizing a mini resistance band.

A Push Up Tweak to Rehab the Rotator Cuff

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

I had Donnalee demonstrate the exercise.

Put the mini band between your wrists. Move into the push up position, adjusting your hands to the position that you want to be in, and do the push up movement.

Push Up with Mini Band on the Wrists

Push Up with Mini Band on the Wrists

With this exercise, the mini band is working to bring your hands in while you are fighting to keep your hands separated and preventing your shoulders and elbows from rotating in. You have to work to rotate those elbows out, activate those lats, and activate the rotator cuff while the mini band is working on trying to bring you inwards.

If you don’t feel enough resistance with the mini band down at your wrists, you can move it further up your arms. You can start in a rotated position, move to a rotated out position and go through the push up movement.

Push Up with Mini Band on the Forearms

Push Up with Mini Band on the Forearms

The mini band is trying to rotate your arms in which affects the shoulder. You are working on activating those lats and those external rotators in the shoulder (like the rotator cuff) in order to prevent that rotation.

Start off with the wrists. If you do not feel it very much, you can move it up on the forearm and start with the rotated position in, work your way out, hold that outward rotation position and go through that push up movement. Fight the resistance from that tubing in order to target the rotator cuff more.

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Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS

If you want to decrease pain, improve range of motion and heal rotator cuff injuries, then click here to  rotator cuff.

Effective Rotator Cuff Exercises