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Pilates for rotator cuff conditions

Updated: Jul 7


The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles;


· Teres minor;

· Subscapularis;

· Supraspinatus; and

· Infraspinatus


They help to provide a wide range of movement at the shoulder joint, including abduction (taking the arm from the centre of the body), adduction (bringing the arm towards the centre of the body) and rotation of the arm.


There are common rotator cuff conditions which individuals may suffer from. These include tendonitis, impingement and tear and may result from injury and overuse. It can also occur from poor posture, namely kyphosis, where there is an excessive rounding through the upper back.




Pilates is a great way to support you to manage and recover from your rotator cuff condition. Listed below are a number of exercises you can try at home; however, we recommend you speak with a specialist before trying these.


Stretch and mobilise

Dumb waiter – Have your elbows locked into your waistline with your palms facing up towards the ceiling. Gently draw your belly button towards your spine. Slowly move the right palm out towards the right, keeping the elbows locked at the waist. Feel the shoulder blade drawing back and the shoulder supporting the rotation. Repeat on the left side. Repeat 4-6 times.


Strengthen and stabilise

Elevation and depression - Standing with the feet and knees hip distance apart, and the shoulder blades drawing down the back, gently draw the belly button to the spine. Start by moving the shoulders up towards the ears and then slowly draw them down the back. Repeat 4-6 times.


Swimming arms – Lying on your front, start with bent elbows so they are in line with your shoulder. Your belly button should gently pull towards your spine to protect your lower back. Lift the right arm, keeping the elbows in line with the shoulder, and slowly lower back down to the floor. Repeat again with the left. Repeat 4-6 times on each arm.



Estuary Fitness offer Pilates classes in Benfleet, Essex.

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