After having rotator cuff problems with my left shoulder and rehabbing myself back to 100% mobility, then contracting the same issue with my right shoulder, I got the idea to blog about rehabbing my right shoulder.
Typically in the gym a man’s manhood is gauged by how much he can bench press. Rarely do any other lifts enter the conversation, such as “how much weight are you throwing around on kickbacks these days”? The problem I ran into was I was benching great weight for my size and didn’t consider strengthening my rotator cuff muscles to help me stabilize the heavy bench weight I was pressing. This is how I first hurt my left shoulder. After doing intensive research on how to rehab the slight tear, which was never confirmed with an MRI because who can afford that these days, I began a rehab program to build my shoulder muscles up and remove the pain. After a few months time my shoulder was 100% back to normal and I resumed my normal bench routine coupled with my rotator cuff exercises. More than likely I wasn’t doing enough and wound up injuring my right shoulder on bench or dumbbell flys and I’m back at square one once again.
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles, easy to remember if you use the acronym SITS:
Still having not had an MRI I can only speculate as to what muscle is injured and where my pain is at is around the insertion point of the supraspinatus muscle which attaches to the top of the humerus bone. I feel I have a moderate tear where the tendons connecting my supraspinatus to my humerus have torn away from the humerus bone. A complete tear would cause me excruciating pain as I’ve been told and I’m not quite at that point, but it does hurt to lift things above my head and it is certainly weaker than my left shoulder.
Once again I’m starting over on my rotator cuff exercises and performing them twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. I call the rotator cuff exercises “ego checkers”, because when you grab the 5-10lb dumbbells to do the exercises you will be shocked at how weak your rotator cuff muscles truly are unless you’ve been training them. Your ego is certainly checked whenever all you can manage to lift up in the certain exercises is 5lb dumbbells.
I’ve successfully rehabbed my left shoulder from its injury, it was bad enough I couldn’t hardly hold a glass of water out in front of me, back to zero pain and 100% mobility. It did take me several months of steady exercise to do so, but it sure beats going under the knife. I’m confident I can do the same with my right shoulder even though the pain in it is slightly more severe than my right. It will take several months to do so and I want to guide you through my training on this as I work to rehab my shoulder back to zero pain.
Apologies for not having an update sooner than this but things have been crazy for us lately. But let’s get to it.
I’ve added a few new workouts into my rotator cuff rehab routines that I’m doing on Mondays and Fridays. I did some more extensive research on rehabbing the rotator cuff tear and found some very valuable information and a few more valuable lifts to help strengthen it back up. As of this day I would estimate I’m at 50% more mobility and 50% less pain and discomfort in my shoulder than my previous entry on December 31. That is a significant improvement from where I was at less than a month ago.
The information that I found was from various physical therapists and after weeding through a lot of junk information I was able to find one particular piece of information that was pertinent to my routine. “It is also important to note that the rotator cuff is an endurance type of muscle group, and therefore requires the use of lighter weights and high repetitions“. This information coupled with a bit of other information regarding using heavier weights led me to change my routine to include less weight and more reps. The other information stated that when you start using heavier weights on your rotator cuff lifts that your deltoid and lat muscles will start carrying more of the load than your cuffs. Since I’ve changed my routine to include less weight I’ve found I’m making gains on my shoulder faster than I was previously. All of the exercises must be performed with perfect form to insure that the proper muscles are being isolated.
I’m sure that I get funny looks from people in the gym when I’m cranking up 5lb dumbbells on some of my lifts for my cuffs, but hey, I’m not doing it for looks, I’m doing it to relieve my pain.
If you or anyone you know has rotator cuff problems or a possible tear I would love to consult with you or them to see what I could do to help out. A few months of rehab sure beats going under the knife!
After a couple more months of lifting and going rehab on my right shoulder I’ve moved up to around 85% mobility and about 85% less pain. I experience occasional bouts of discomfort lifting heavier objects above my head but near the pain I was in just 2 months ago.
I’ve been doing some dynamic stretching using a 5lb weight to strengthen my range of motion in both shoulders with more emphasis on my right. Small slow circles then moving to big slow circles with my arms fully extended laterally to my body. I’ve been able to restart doing some incline dumbbell bench press with lighter weights as I don’t want to run the risk of injuring it again. I’ve also started to incorporate some more shoulder lifts, including neutral grip lateral pulls, wide grip lateral pulls, and posterior deltoid raises. With the spotting help of some of our gym members I’ve been able to go heavier on my 1 arm dumbbell bench presses. It’s feeling good to be able to work on my shoulders and chest again with no pain.
I fully expect to be healed up 100% in a couple more months of sticking to my current lifting regimen on my rotators.
Well it has been a long journey rehabbing my right shoulder rotator cuff injury but finally I’ve completed it. Today I’m able to lift objects and weights above my head pain free which needless to say is a huge relief. The key now is maintaining this strength in those muscles and preventing injury down the road. Shoulder injuries such as this takes a lot of time and patience to work through and recover from. It’s taken close to a years time to get it done but I’ve avoided surgery and all that follows that.
When it comes to weightlifting and strength training, time and patience are the keys to winning. Generally speaking most people want instant results within a couple months time and while you will have some positive results you will not have full and complete results. In the battle between the rock and the flowing water, water always wins due to time.