Rotator Cuff Strengthening

Rotator Cuff Strengthening

Tips for Home Remedies in Elderly Adults

Shoulder injuries among the elderly are quite common, especially for those who are engaged in daily physical activities around the home. If you are caring for an aging parent who is complaining about minor shoulder pain, it is important to understand how a rotator cuff injury can be easily acquired and what rotator cuff strengthening exercises can be done at home.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

Physical strengthening exercises are important to elderly adults as it helps to keep weak muscles from becoming weaker, and thereby protects the joints and bones from potential breaks and fractures. In many cases, older adults are unfamiliar with the best ways in which to engage in strengthening exercises for their shoulders and, therefore, avoid performing any exercise at all.

If your aging parent has complaints of early minor shoulder pain, it is prudent to contact an orthopedic specialist for medical attention and evaluation. Blood work, including an arthritis panel, may be necessary to rule out chronic and progressive joint diseases that may inhibit mobility of the rotator cuffs. Once chronic disease is ruled out, a physician can provide a referral to a physical therapy center with specialists on staff who can provide guidance in passive rotator cuff strengthening exercises as well as active motion strengthening exercises.

Rotator Cuff Home Remedies

In addition to professional care, there are other home remedies that elderly adults can do to strengthen rotator cuff movement. One of the most common is the repetitive lifting of small cans of vegetables, using the can as a light hand weight, and rotating the arm around in large circles. Often, this will strengthen the rotator cuff to the degree that injury risks can be minimized until medical attention and further instruction can be provided.

Rotator Cuff Workout

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

As with any form of joint pain in older adults, it is important to avoid any unsupervised home exercises if pain is already present. With rotator cuff tendinitis complications, and complications involving early arthritic changes, a physician may need to provide medications in addition to the professional, and structured, guidance in rotator cuff strengthening. Always err on the side of caution and when no pain is present, consider using the canned foods to provide light weights and strengthening opportunities.

When to train the posterior deltoid, with shoulder or back?

Is it better to train the posterior deltoids with shoulders or back?

What do the following exercises have in common: rowing with bar and rowing with bar and inverted grip, rowing with dumbbells with one hand, rowing seated on a pulley and rowing with a T bar?

Although they all bring density to the middle of the back, you may not know that the rear deltoid helps in each of these movements. Think then that the rear deltoids don’t work too much in composite exercises like military presses and dumbbell presses.

The function of the posterior deltoid is to extend the humerus through horizontal abduction, in which you carry your arms from a front position to the sides. The rowing movements recruit the posterior deltoid, and actively contribute to carrying the elbows behind the back plane, a negligible action in press exercises.

The main question here is: to train the posterior deltoid with the shoulder or with the back? In fact, many great bodybuilders do both.

With the shoulder, the back… or with both.

Some bodybuilders prefer to train the posterior deltoid with their back routine.

Personally, I have discovered that my back deltoids are not so much pre-fatigued when training shoulder as when doing back. My most common shoulder training consists of military press, side and front lifts, and foot rowing, which means my back deltoids are fresh.

Conversely, a back training consisting of pulley pulls and heavy paddles already works the rear deltoids, due to all the pulling movements.

Having done back is an excellent time to do a rear shoulder isolation exercise. That’s why many bodybuilders work the back of the shoulder on the back day.

As long as you add some specific movements for that muscle and don’t base yourself only on the auxiliary exercises, you will develop that area well. The back deltoid needs emphasis to improve its proportion based on specific exercises.

In short, neither choice is right or wrong. Follow our tips below and you’ll get optimal results.

Training the posterior deltoid with the shoulder

After heavy presses, include mono-articular exercises that work each deltoid “head”: anterior, media, and posterior.

As the posterior deltoid gets fatigued from rowing exercises, it will be cooler on shoulder day (even after heavy presses), and you will have more energy to train it with strict isolation movements.

The best insulation exercises for working the rear shoulder are rear dumbbell lifts, inverted contractor openings and inverted pulley openings, standing.

If you really want to emphasize this area you can start your routine directly with two exercises for the rear deltoid.

Training the posterior deltoid with your back

Complete your back training by doing heavy rowing and pulling, which work by the posterior shoulder quite a bit.

After heavy exercises, add an isolation movement for the posterior deltoid. If you train the rear shoulder before the heavy back work, you’ll leave it exhausted and you won’t perform well on the oars. If you train shoulder or back on the same day, start with the biggest muscle: the back.

Bonus: Tension Band Lateral Raises for Building Shoulder Muscles

Yes, you can get a searing shoulder workout doing lateral raises with tension tubes or resistance bands. I’m a certified personal trainer. Sometimes, tension bands are a welcome relief from dumbbells, especially if you’re battling a tendon injury in an elbow.

The best way to perform lateral raises with a resistance band is to place the tubing on the floor, perpendicular to body. Place feet on the band to secure it, keeping feet less than shoulder width apart. Your feet on the tension tubing will provide the anchor point.

The instinct will be to grab the handle that’s on the same side as the hand grabbing it. However, this will short-change range of motion. Instead, the right hand takes the handle on the left side, and the left hand takes the right-sided handle.

The Exercises

Position arms before you so that forearms/wrists are forming an “X” shape. It doesn’t matter if the right wrist is on top, or the left wrist; just make sure that with each set, you alternate, to give equal time to whichever wrist is on top.

Keep a slight bend in the elbows while exercising, and keep upper body stable and relaxed. From this starting position, proceed with the lateral lifts. Go as high as you’d like, but at least with arms parallel to floor. Release with control and return to the “X” position.

Tension Bands

Since tension bands come in all sorts of strengths, this motion has the potential to be too easy, or too difficult. The dynamics of the motion are actually the foundation of this shoulder routine. The variable is the strength of the tension band. You must find the right band.

If you can perform 20 reps and don’t feel that much challenged, the tension in the tubing is too weak for you. If you can barely perform eight reps, the resistance in the band is too high. You should not have to jerk your body to get the handles up (save for maybe the last few reps of a full set).


Good form should be maintained throughout (though again, “loose” form for the last few reps is acceptable).

The goal is to find a tension tube that provides a challenging to difficult level of exertion, for 12-18 reps that include a controlled release (“negative”) back to the “X” starting position. The end of the first set should produce a burn in the shoulder muscles.

How Many Sets?

Rest in between sets for 30 to 60 seconds. This is variable because it depends on degree of burn in the shoulder muscles. It’s possible that after only 30 seconds, despite a nasty shoulder muscle burn, one can resume and complete another good set.

However, one may need the full 60 seconds to get in at least 12 reps. Do six sets total, but each set should be designed so that it’s challenging to difficult in exertion, producing a wicked burn in the shoulder muscles.

If the burn is not there, the tension band is not strong enough. On the other hand, incomplete motions due to a tension resistance that’s too high, will also result in insufficient training, since complete range of motion is crucial to tax the shoulder muscle fibers.

Add Intensity

If you’re stuck with a tension band that’s too weak, then add intensity by tacking on a shoulder press motion at the top portion of the lateral raise. Then release the shoulder press, extend arms into the top position of a lateral raise, and release from there.

Another way to add intensity to lateral raises if the tension tubing isn’t strong, is to hold the top portion of the lateral raise for a few seconds before releasing. If you’re doing this shoulder routine correctly, following all of the guidelines and using the resistance band that’s right for you, your shoulder muscles should be burning mad at the end of the six sets, even before then.


  • 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution, by Jerry Robinson

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