How do I bulk my shoulders when I have a rotator cuff injury?
February 25, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to a previous post I've been able to get back to the gym and get a great workout going. Now I have a snag. I hurt my rotator cuff years ago (due to a poor benchpress technique or lack thereof). I do the advised exercises for it but regardless, I am unable to lift above my head without injury (and the doc advised against it). Eventually surgery may help. Shoulder presses prior to injury would really bulk up my shoulders but because of this injury I cannot do them anymore. I do dumbbell front and side raises which help but is there any other exercises that might bulk/round the shoulder? I am not going for extremely heavy weights. Just enough to continue to challenge the muscle. Any thoughts?
posted by snap_dragon to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Best answer: is a great resource for things like this. The site design is...dated, but the content is very good. The page I linked has a good list of exercises for your ant/med/posterior delts, which is I think what you are looking for.
posted by aganders3 at 8:42 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a whole list. The upright row is pretty good, I think. Also just about any pushing or pulling movement will work the shoulder.
posted by creasy boy at 8:43 AM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: I am not a physical therapist, I am not even a personal trainer, so please take this advice with a grain of salt and consult your personal health team.

Still, I would go to a personal trainer and get specific recommendations for exercises.

I know pitchers use Jobe Exercises

In addition, I know many people have used kettlebells to effectively rehab shoulder injuries. In the book Enter the Kettlebell, Pavel recommends the first part of the Turkish get-up for shoulder injuries. I would suggest buying the book for more details.
posted by satori_movement at 8:56 AM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: I dislocated my shoulder around five years ago (...doing an overhead press at the gym. Long story). This article came recommended from a Crossfit forum post and came in handy in rehabilitating my shoulder. There are three exercises with < 20lbs weights:
  • Cuban press
  • Lateral raises
  • Lying abduction
My 2 cents is to focus on rehabilitating your shoulder and then seek a long-term solution to your problems rather than working around it. FWIW shoulder dislocation is a life-long injury; when I stop going to the gym the pain in my shoulder increases over time, which is pretty disconcerting.
posted by asymptotic at 9:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you go the kettlebell route, might want to avoid the bizarre overhead ("american swing") certain organizations use. Also high-volume pullups (esp. kipping)..
posted by rr at 9:30 AM on February 25, 2011

Response by poster: Asymptiotic, I found that site helpful but am leery of the second part of the Cuban press. Thanks for the link.
posted by snap_dragon at 10:53 AM on February 25, 2011

Response by poster: Satori_movement, I will see how some of these basic exercises work and also check kettlebell books by Pavel. I just checked the one suggested out from my library.
posted by snap_dragon at 10:55 AM on February 25, 2011

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