The Rotator Cuff: Pt. 3

Todd Sabol MS, AT


In articles one and two, the goal was to give you ground work for the basic anatomy and some common injuries that can occur at the shoulder joint, specifically with the rotator cuff. My hope is that you were able to use that information to gather a better idea of what may be happening in your individual situation. The final part of this rotator cuff series will give basic guidelines for acute injury care and layout a group of mobility and strengthening exercises that you can employ for various injuries and/or use for a warm-up or prehab routine. 

What To Do When You Have Pain?


First off, take a minute and think about what the pain is like, how severe it is, during what movements does it hurt and how long has the pain been occurring? These are very helpful in determining what the specific injury may be. However, knowledge of previous injury to the shoulder and mechanism of injury (how the injury happened) are extremely important as well. Next, note all of the other symptoms you have occurring: clicking, popping, redness, inflammation, numbness, tingling, weakness, diminished pulse etc. The more information you have, the better idea you will have of what your next step should be. My goal is to give you tools that can keep you out of the doctor’s office or clinic and be proactive with your injuries. So, take a look at the last two articles and try to match up your symptoms.


Now What?


I know you're tired of me talking, you just want the programming. Like I stated before, the routines will be slightly different depending on when they are used, but regardless, these can act as a great injury prevention warmup or rehabilitation technique. The overall goal of the programming is to restore and improve your shoulder mobility. Many times, we do not have the proper shoulder mobility and range of motion (ROM) before we add weight and resistance. Then we start to develop poor movement patterns because our muscles are trying to shorten and lengthen in positions where they are not as efficient. This can cause pathologic movement patterns, muscle imbalances and injury. So, I encourage you to look at and employ the mobility and stretching techniques in commonly. From there, once you feel comfortable, add in the strengthening movements. If you have any feedback, comments or questions about specific injury rehabilitation plans please contact me and always remember to #HealByMoving.



Passive Flexibility/Mobility (See video @toddsportsmed)

All completed for 30 seconds, preferably both arms.


1. External Rotation

2. Internal Rotation

3. Horizontal adduction

4. Shoulder abduction

5. Posterior capsule release



-Use as a prehab/warmup circuit: 1 round each exercise (both arms) for 10 repetitions.

-Use as a rehabilitation program: 2 rounds each exercise (both arms) for 15 repetitions.


A. External rotation (Shoulder in neutral, elbow at 90 degrees)

B. External rotation (Shoulder at 90 degrees, elbow at 90 degrees)

C. Internal rotation (Shoulder at 90 degrees, elbow at 90 degrees)

D. Internal rotation (Shoulder in neutral, elbow at 90 degrees)

E. Horizontal adduction

F. Band Face Pulls

G. Band Pullovers

H. Band Pull-A-Parts

I. Prone Scaption

If you liked this article, check out:

The Rotator Cuff: Pt 2