Friday, March 14, 2014

An Exercise for Rotator Cuff Injuries that I'm Actually, Finally Doing

The swells have been consistent lately, the paddles long. My shoulders are not as happy about it as I am. 

My last semester of college, I manipulated my schedule so I only had class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the other days, I surfed all day. There was nothing I didn't like about it. My shoulders have never forgiven me, though. I've seen a few physical therapists about my rotator cuff inflammation issues. I am always enthusiastic as I sit in their offices learning about all the exercises I can do to help myself recover. But when I get home, I nearly never do them. Or at least, I do them until I feel better and then I am happy to cut them out of my routine. But that wasn't working for me. I don't want to feel old. I don't want to watch. I don't want to feel like I've already given the ocean my stronger years. I don't want the money I spent on the physical therapy to be wasted. And so, I do the exercises. They are not nearly as fun as surfing, or most other things, but they help me sleep at night. I thought I would share one with you in case you might need it.

Strengthening your trapezius: Sets: 3 \\ Repetition: 5-12 \\ Hold: 3 seconds

Your trapezius is located in the upper and middle back (I had to google it. None of those Tuesday/Thursday classes from senior year were in anatomy). This is the muscle you work when your shoulders are in use. It's important to strengthen this muscle so you can put it to work while paddling instead of straining the ball and socket joint.

1. Lie on your stomach, face down with your arms overhead, elbows bent and your thumbs pointing up.

2. Lift your elbows and hands off the floor while pulling your shoulder blades together.

3. Let your elbows down and repeat.

Place a towel roll under your forehead to keep your face off the floor. 

Have you ever had rotator cuff injuries or pain? I hear swimmers and tennis and baseball players often suffer too. Have you ever had to do physical therapy for an injury?... Did you actually do it?

-clothing c/o Roxy. Check out the new spring items in Roxy's Outdoor Fitness line. They have some really cute (and colorful) stuff.

I hope you have a good weekend! Welcome new readers from ohdeardrea


  1. I've had physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis (sore heels - so sore you'd think you were walking on glass!) in the past; it flares up occasionally and I have to do the stretches again for a while but I'm glad I know which stretches help and I'm glad I know my body well enough to know which exercise classes cause severe flare ups (damn you step aerobics). I have a friend who is a physiotherapist and she says that most people do the stretches/exercises for a while then forget and they end up back at the physiotherapists, hoping for a miracle cure, when some simple stretches/exercises are the miracle cure! Have a great weekend, Devon x

  2. I've never had an injury but I will say in doing TurboFire - there are a lot of punches and arm swings and there is a 10 minute stretch routine at the end and she pays a lot of attention to rotator cuffs - which I never realize how much use you get out of those and how much attention they deserve. Keep up the good work - take care of those shoulders girl :)

  3. I did this year though we never fugured out what from. I loved going to physical therapy but I'm bad about remembering to do my exercises at home. I have a sheet with them taped by my bed but I usually forget. I need to get back in the habit. All the stretching feels good!

  4. Just learned about all the muscles that make up the rotator cuff in anatomy! :) Love knowing the body and how it works!

  5. Oh man, I've been to physical therapy more often than I would like to admit. I'm the same way - I'm super enthusiastic about it at first and then once I stop going regularly or I start feeling better, I stop doing my exercises. But it really is about doing these exercises all the time! I dislocated my shoulder about 10 years ago and my left shoulder has never quite been the same. And the shoulder is so vulnerable. So important to take care of that rotator cuff! Thanks for sharing this Devon!

  6. I had to do physical therapy for torn ligaments & tendons in my shoulder. I did not follow up as I should have, but recently restarted the exercises I was given, when I realized I could not lift an empty bowl from the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet.

  7. Exercises aren't much fun are they, but I'm glad you're feeling better for doing them. Luckily I've not had to do any, but I know I wouldn't be much good at doing them unless I really had to. Keep going though Devon, you will no doubt really benefit from them. And I usually find that once something is part of my routine it is less of a chore.

  8. Hi Devon, now wait a sec....aren't you just in your late 20's!? You definitely shouldn't feel old or feel you've given the ocean your best years! Poor girl! The wear and tear can sure add up though and PT exercises are a chore! After a recent bout of pain where I couldn't even raise my arm to comb my hair, I headed back to PT (both shoulders have issues). My doctor told me that it was a fairly common, AGE RELATED, run of the mill, wear and tear issue. I'm still going with it being from years of climbing, that sounds so much more, exciting? I can only seem to stick with a few of the stretches and maybe 3 of the rubber band exercises. I did go and join a gym and start lifting weights again and that has helped so much. Good results and it's way more interesting to lift weights and do the few PT exercises that I know help me. It's often things like putting on or taking off a wetsuit, loading gear in the truck or even reaching into the back seat to pet the dog that get me! Hang in there! Glad you found an exercise you like. I will have to give it a try.

  9. This exercise is really good, it's been on my list since I had the neck and back injury. BUT I'm the worst, i stop exercises immediately when i start feeling better.. so its continuous loop of not feeling well. I'm still very weak from shoulders but this time i won't give up :)

    You are still very young so feeling old and unable to do something is a warning sign, keep up good work Devon! xx Sini

  10. Great exercises for the rotator cuff!!! I tore my rotator cuff when I was about twenty and probably didn't do as much therapy as I should have at the time. We'll see at 43 if that comes back to haunt me!!!

  11. Great exercises! I'm going to keep those in mind. I was playing tennis this weekend, and my shoulders are so sore. As is the rest of me:(


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