Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Before you start
The exercises described below are to help you
strengthen the muscles in your shoulder (especially the rotator cuff muscles).
These exercises should not cause you pain. If the exercise hurts, stop
exercising. Start again with a lighter weight.
Look at the pictures with each exercise so you
can use the right position. Warm up before adding weights. Stretch your arms and
shoulders and do pendulum exercises: Bend from the waist, let your arms hang
down. Keep your arm and shoulder muscles relaxed, and move your arms slowly back
and forth. Perform each exercise slowly: Lift your arm to a slow count of 3 and
lower your arm to a slow count of 6.
Keep repeating each exercise until your arm is
tired. Use a light enough weight that you don't get tired until you've done the
exercise about 20 to 30 times. Increase the weight a little each week (but never
so much that the weight causes pain). Start with 2 ounces the first week, move
up to 4 ounces the second week, 8 ounces the next week, and so on.
Each time you finish doing all 4 exercises, put
an ice pack on your shoulder for 20 minutes. It's best to use a plastic bag with
ice cubes in it, or a bag of frozen peas, not gel packs. If you do all 4
exercises 3 to 5 times a week, your rotator cuff muscles will become stronger
and you'll get back normal strength in your shoulder.
Start by lying on your stomach on a table or a
bed. Put your left arm out at shoulder level with your elbow bent to 90°
and your hand down. Keep your elbow bent and slowly raise your left hand. Stop
when your hand is level with your shoulder. Lower the hand slowly. Repeat the
exercise until your arm is tired. Then do the whole exercise again with your
Lie on your right side with a rolled-up towel
under your right armpit. Stretch your right arm above your head. Keep your left
arm at your side with your elbow bent to 90° and the forearm resting
against your chest, palm down. Roll your left shoulder out, raising the left
forearm until it's level with your shoulder. (Hint: This is like the backhand
swing in tennis.) Lower the arm slowly. Repeat the exercise until your arm is
tired. Then do the whole exercise again with your rightarm.
Lie on your right side. Keep your left arm along
the upper side of your body. Bend your right elbow to 90°. Keep the right
forearm resting on the table. Now roll your right shoulder in, raising your
right forearm up to your chest. (Hint: This is like the forehand swing in
tennis.) Lower the forearm slowly. Repeat the exercise until your arm is tired.
Then do the whole exercise again with your left arm.
In a standing position, start with your right
arm halfway between the front and the side of your body, thumb down. Raise your
right arm until almost level (about a 45° angle). (Hint: This is like
emptying a can.) Don't lift beyond the point of pain. Slowly lower your arm.
Repeat the exercise until your arm is tired. Then do the whole exercise again
with your left arm.