A lot of my rotator cuff clients complain about rotator cuff pain with the lateral raise exercise.
Before I talk about what you can do to relieve lateral raise rotator cuff pain, let me explain why I do the lateral raise exercise with my rotator cuff clients.
Why I give my rotator cuff clients the lateral raises exercises?
The movement of lateral raise is abduction of the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint). For clients with rotator cuff injuries, often times this is a movement that is weak.
I want to improve the strength in abduction of the shoulder joint from 0 degrees to 85 degrees of abduction. I can do this with the lateral raise exercise. I can the exercise use dumbbell, tubing or pulleys for resistance.
Lateral Raises Technique
Let me quickly review the technique of a lateral raise:
– Stance is hip width apart with toes pointing straight ahead
– Core is activated
– Arms are at the side with dumbbells
– Head is in neutral position or eyes are looking straight ahead
– Abduct the arms from 0 degrees to 85 degrees (just below shoulder height)
Lateral Raises & Rotator Cuff PainWhat you will find is some clients will find that exercise too difficult to do. The lever arm ends up being too long for what their rotator cuff can handle. The lever arm is the distance from your shoulder to the dumbbell. With the dumbbell being at a long distance away from the shoulder, it ends up putting 10 times the force through the rotator cuff compared to the weight it is. For example, if the dumbbell weight is 5 lbs, the force that is being put through the shoulder joint is 50 lbs. This this amount of force maybe too much force than the rotator cuff can handle and maybe why their is soreness.
What you can do is decreasing the lever arm of the lateral raise exercise. You can do this by bending your elbows to 90 degrees. Everything else remains the same. I still have the feet at hip width the part, the core is activated, abducting the shoulder joint to the side, and coming back down.
Tip – Rotator Cuff Exercise Modification for the Lateral Raise Exercise
I go through this and much more in the Effective Rotator Cuff Exercise Program.
If you are a fitness professionals and are looking for exercises to help your clients with rotator cuff injuries, I recommend taking a look at the Effective Rotator Cuff Exercise Program. It is full or rotator cuff exercises to help your clients out.
Rick Kaselj, MS