New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Exercises to Avoid With a Rotator Cuff Injury  

Exercises to Avoid With a Rotator Cuff Injury  

Exercises to Avoid With a Rotator Cuff Injury  

By: Timothy T. Roberts, M.D. FAAOS

Dr. Roberts earned his Doctorate of Medicine from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. He completed his orthopedic residency at Albany Medical College. Dr. Roberts then went on to complete the neurosurgery/orthopaedic spine surgery-combined fellowship at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. Following graduation, Dr. Roberts worked for several years in a large private practice in Florida, but has since returned to his native New York.

Your rotator cuff houses an essential group of muscles and tendons that assist the shoulder joint with everyday function. When you injure your rotator cuff, you risk anything from weeks of recovery to complete loss of mobility. Because rotator cuff muscles need appropriate support in recovery, it’s critical to avoid certain exercises while you heal. 

Injured Rotator Cuff Exercises to Avoid

At New York Spine Institute, we’ve assisted hundreds of patients through diligent, dedicated care. When treating a rotator cuff injury, we recommend exercising with caution. To avoid further injury, skip the following exercises.

Overhead Lifts

Overhead lifts or presses require heavy strain on the shoulder area. If you are recovering from a rotator cuff injury, it’s crucial to avoid shoulder movements like these. 

Want to stretch your rotator cuff muscles without causing further damage? Place your hands on either side of a doorframe and shift your body backward and forward for an effective stretch.

Lat Pulldowns

Lat pulldowns extend your rotator cuff past its natural range, further stressing your shoulder muscles. While using a lat pulldown machine, you can easily put too much pressure on the area. Instead of rotating your shoulders backward, place a resistance band on the bottoms of your feet and pull them toward you for a safer stretch. 

Upright Rows

Upright rows require the lifter to put their arms in an internally rotated position, which may lead to a pinched tendon in your shoulders. Those healing from rotator cuff injuries can significantly damage their muscles with this exercise, especially with excessive weights. For an alternative rowing motion, secure a resistance band above your body and pull it down toward your chest.

Bench Dips

Bench dips are another example of an internal rotation risking a pinched tendon. When exercising with a rotator cuff injury, keep your arms out of this locked position. 

Instead, try a lighter-weight exercise by holding a dumbbell in each hand, slightly squatting and extending your arms in a slow punching motion without lifting or locking your elbows.

Schedule an Appointment for Rotator Cuff Injury Relief

The rotator cuff is a complex and delicate system of muscles and tendons, so it’s important to treat it with care. If you’re recovering from a rotator cuff injury, one of the best ways to heal is by taking it easy at the gym. Speaking to an orthopedic specialist can help you identify the best rotator cuff exercises to keep you on track. 

At New York Spine Institute, we serve patients across the tri-state area with world-renowned care. Schedule an appointment today to discover what we can do for you!