For those who care about buffness

ouch my rotator cuff

stitches came off this morning. but as it turns out the rotator cuff on the left side isn’t working as it should anymore. the result is an abnormally winged left scapula.
it was bad before but post surgery it’s got even worse.

so let’s explain a little bit what a rotator cuff is and what it does and why you should give a crap about it… esp if you want to do aerial circus!
a couple of pics stolen from the web (first one was stolen from gray’s anatomy!) to show how rotator cuff muscles are structured:



as you can see it’s not just the one muscle but actually 4 different muscles which can be considered as “rotator cuff”:

– #7 supraspinatus: arm abduction teamed w the delts.
– #8 infraspinatus: external rotation of the shoulder.
– #6 teres minor: teamed w the infraspinatus it holds the humerus in place in relation to the scapular cavity, but also work w the delts to rotate the humerus.
– subscapularis (visible on the pic on the right. sits under the scapula): rotates the humerus medially, w overhead movements of the arm, it draws the humerus forwards and downwards.

all these muscles put together form the rotator cuff, they all have the scapula for origin and insert in the humerus.

the rotator cuff does a lot for shoulder stability. problems occur when there is an imbalance between the “bigger” shoulder muscles (delts, traps, teres major etc) and the rotator cuff. most of us concerned w bulk will pimp the bigger muscles. you can’t really see bulk on the cuff muscles sadly.

which has led me to bulk up a lot on the other muscles at the detriment of the smaller stability providing ones.

check this:

vs an earlier pre injury healthier cuff:

so why is a winged scapula bad?
let’s take a look at the shoulder structure in terms of bones this time:

the gap between the acromion (i.e. the tip of the scapula which fuses w the clavicle) and the humerus (also called the subacromial space) is where the supraspinatus tendon passes to insert into the humeral head. if the shoulder blade is not held properly in its place, this gap becomes more narrow, thus compressing the tendon which then provokes an……. IMPINGEMENT.

and there you have it. why you should care about developing the rotator cuff.

i already had an impingement, presumably caused by the bone spur removed by my recent surgery adventure. now i need to get the rotator cuff active again to prevent more trouble.

how to recover function of the rotator cuff? well then, let’s go onto the physio side of things.

these exercises are the ones i know (done w my good arm!), if anyone cares to add others it would be mighty helpful for injured buff ppl out there! *ArnoldCat?

– these are the 2 basic ones:

lying on yr side just lift your arm back up to your stomach and back down.

same as above but this time the arm you’re working on is on the top, let it drop to your stomach and back up.


something a bit more evil now:

lift your elbow to shoulder height and lift a dumbbell up and down keeping the arm bent. it hurts even my good arm… argh.

therabands can be used to improve the health of rotator cuffs, the same 2 exercises can be done with the bands. for now, given my weakened arm, i can only do these w remarkably low weights 🙁

One Response

  1. ArnoldCat

    Zaki, you should mention that when you do all these exercise you have to focus on keeping your shoulder blade down. It’s very important as this way you you ensure you’re using the right muscles.

    24/03/2012 at 1:05 pm

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