Two Exercises to Reduce the Risk of a Rotator Cuff Injury

Exercising to Prevent Rotator Cuff InjuryAs you get older, your body becomes more fragile. Minor injuries quickly become serious and turn to talk of surgery. All of a sudden, it becomes more difficult to reach overhead, or you experience shoulder pain when you lift your arms. Your strength and mobility may begin to waiver over the years from wear and tear.

Rotator cuff injuries are commonly associated with athletes, but the general population—particularly older folks—is at risk too. Nearly two million people visit the doctor with rotator cuff problems each year. However, a focus on strengthening the area could reduce the likelihood of pain or injury.


Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint to keep the upper bone in your arm—the humerus—firmly locked into the shoulder socket.

Alternating Arm and Leg Lifts

  • Position yourself on all fours.
  • Arms should be straight with hands directly below shoulders; knees directly below hips.
  • Tighten core muscles and simultaneously extend your right arm and left leg, so they are both parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for a moment and return to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner.
  • Complete 10–15 repetitions and then do the left arm and right leg.

Stability Ball Push-ups

  • Position yourself on all fours.
  • Place your hands on the ball about shoulder-width apart. Have upper arms tucked against sides.
  • Stretch legs out behind you, about shoulder-width apart, with the tips of your toes flat on the floor.
  • Keep the body in a straight line from head to feet and push yourself up from the ball until your arms are almost straight.
  • Hold for a moment and return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat 10–15 repetitions.

Performing these motions each day may help strengthen the rotator cuff, improve mobility in the area, and lower the risk of injury. If you currently have an injured rotator cuff, talk to your doctor before beginning any physical activity/exercise involving the upper body.

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.


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