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  • Dr. Chris Beavers PT, DPT

The Best Exercises for Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Shoulder pain is one of the most common things I treat in the clinic. There are many reasons that this is the case. Most notably due to the shoulder being one of the most mobile joints in the body. Its designed to give us freedom to reach behind our backs and overhead. With all of this mobility however it is a relatively unstable joint. Think golf ball on a tee. You can move the golf ball around rotate it any way you like but it can easily fall off. This is where your rotator cuff comes in to play. Its designed to keep the golf ball on the tee.


In CrossFit athletes, rotator cuff tendonitis is one of the most common things I see which is largely in part to the high demands and large amounts of volume that the shoulder takes on during workouts. We ask the shoulder to move a barbell quickly overhead and stabilize it in the snatch, to control and generate kipping maneuvers on the rig, and even to power ourselves up during muscles up.


So often we just want to move heavy barbell and we ignore the importance of conditioning the rotator cuff. Heres a list of my go to exercises to get after if you are experiencing pain.


Walk Out Isometrics


This is a great exercise to get the rotator cuff warmed up before a work out and a great rehab exercises because it helps calm down pain and helps get you into overhead motion quickly.


Complete 2 sets of 6-10



Banded Snow Angels


This is one of my staples for rotator cuff rehab because it builds stronger rotator cuffs and strong shoulder blades which are critical to keeping this issue from coming back in the future.




Sidelying Flexion, Abduction, and External Rotation


This is a great burn out set that will help really get after the rotator cuff. Go very light here, Ive got a 5lb weight but if your shoulder is super irritated body weight may be enough. Start with flexion knock out 10-20 and then immediately progress to the next exercises

2 sets of 10-20 reps per exercise


People get themselves into trouble when they ignore pain. Pain is like a check engine light. Occasionally that light will go out after you turn the car off and let it rest but if its stays on you go get it checked out. Your body is the same way. People ignore pain and that’s how they end up with rotator cuff tears and miss months of training.


If you have been modifying your workouts for more than 2 weeks and you haven’t been able to get out of pain then its time to talk to someone. We specialize in treating shoulder pain and treating athletes just like you every single day. Give us a call at 615-438-3963 so that we can final get you out of pain and back to the barbell.

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