You will find out that the rotator cuff is probably the most neglected group of muscles in the body when you consult with personal training Mississauga. There are four rotator cuff muscles that arise from the shoulder blade. Their attachments to the arm is what creates most of the stability in the shoulder. This is because their constant pull keeps the arm tightly positioned in its socket. However, since most stability in the arm comes from the muscles of the rotator cuff, they are prone to strain/sprain-type injuries. This can occur through either repetitive overuse or through a one-time violent “pull” of the muscle.
The best way to describe how the rotator cuff works as a stabilizer of the arm is to compare it to a balance scale. On the front of the shoulder blade, you have the subscapularis which pulls the arm forward. On the back, you have the infraspinatus and teres minor which pulls the arm backwards. Combining these two sides of the rotator cuff creates what is known as a transverse force couple. In this couple, each side must be balanced in their pull to optimize stability and keep the arm centralized in its socket. Weakness or tightness in any of these three muscles will affect the forwards-to-backwards position of the arm.
In terms of the client population, a weak infraspinatus muscle is the most common finding. This weakness means that infraspinatus has less backwards pull on the arm, causing a more forward relative pull. This positions the arm to sit forward on the shoulder, leading to a more protracted posture. The problem with this abnormal posture is that it puts the arm at a higher risk of impingement with the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. Over time, impingement can lead to gradually worse injuries including tendinitis, partial (grade 1 and 2) tears, and full (grade 3) tears.
How Personal Training Mississauga can Help Strengthen your Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff muscles function to rotate the arm along the transverse (horizontal) plan. The movements are called external rotation, accomplished by the activation of infraspinatus and teres minor, and internal rotation by subscapularis activation. Luckily, any weak rotator cuff muscles can be strengthened by working through resistance using these movements. It takes good form and technique to isolate the muscle and strengthen it. Otherwise, a lot of other muscles such as the rhomboids or the wrist extensors can compensate to take on the rotator cuff’s role of internal and external rotation. These compensations may have even led to the muscular imbalances in the first place. That is why a trained expert can help you. Studies show that it takes 4-8 weeks to see noticeable changes in strength. Once the weak muscle gets stronger and can pull with more tension, it will stabilize the arm into a more correct position.
Smart training is the number one prevention to injury. You simply cannot neglect the important of training the rotator cuff muscles as it provides a great deal of stability to the shoulder. Speak to a personal trainer today about how you can protect your shoulders from injury!