Rotator cuff injuries are becoming increasingly common. Research has shown that as many as 34% of people of all ages have tears in the rotator cuff and that percentage increases significantly over the age of 40.
However the rotator cuff is poorly understood. It is in fact a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder which connect the upper arm to the shoulder blade. The tendons provide stability to the shoulder and the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate. The muscles are not power muscles, they’re not going to help you bench press, pushup or pullup. Rather they’re stabilizing muscles – perfect for Pilates exercises.
One important message that I like to impart to my clients is to listen to your body and learn how to recognize pain signals. Unfortunately with rotator cuff injuries there is often no pain directly associated with the tear. Shoulder pain usually only occurs with repetitive motion activities but eventually stops or hinders people from enjoying the activities that they love for example tennis, golf, swimming.
The healing of the rotator cuff is a bit confusing – often they are slow to heal because tendons don’t receive as much blood flow as muscles. So how can Pilates help? Pilates exercises are a combination of stretch and strengthen, which is such a plus as a lot of other exercises concentrate only on strengthening and just give a token few minutes to stretching at the end.
Pilates also includes many exercises that lengthen the muscles front and back of the shoulders allowing for such a sweet stretch that hits the nail on the head. Clients come to Pilates for the many benefits but one of them is muscular skeletal wellbeing. Pilates is a holistic workout that looks after joints as well as muscles.
Outside the Pilates studio, it’s also helpful to find a monkey bar or pull-up bar, hold on to it (feet still on the floor) and hang as much as possible for a few minutes a few times a week. Once you can do this comfortably, try taking your feet off the ground.
Get the toned arms you want without pain in your neck and shoulders!!