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Functional Training of the Rotator Cuff

How can we prevent rotator cuff dysfunctions with repetitive activities such as swings and throws in sports such as golf, tennis and baseball?

Flexibility and strength of the surrounding soft tissue structures of the shoulder are of primary importance but a physiotherapist should also address the following components in order to optimize rotator cuff efficiency and avoid dysfunctions:

  • proper biomechanics including joint alignment and posture
  • proper training technique
  • proper balance of surrounding soft tissue structures.

The physiotherapy protocol initially addresses scapular stabilization then integrates scapular retraction with rotator cuff co-contractions. Then proprioception of the scapulo-humeral region with plyometric exercises can be added.

Integrating sport-specific resistance exercises using tubing to create an eccentric and concentric co-activation of the rotator cuff force couples would be the final stage,  to prepare the rotator cuff for repetitive rotation activities in sports.