If your rotator cuff had a tinder profile, it’d be pretty bummed, because most people would overlook it to swipe right on the bigger, sexier muscles instead.
Me though? I’ve come to be good friends the rotator cuff and I think it deserves another chance.
Here are four reasons why you should swipe right on the “RC” (and by swipe right, I mean make rotator cuff exercises a regular part of your movement routine.)
1. The rotator cuff a brilliant multitasker.
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles. And if you consider that three is the ultimate fantasy for most men, four is obviously even hotter. Obviously.
Because the rotator cuff is a foursome, it means does a bunch of different (dirty…not really) things. It helps turns your arm in and out. It assists in bringing your arm over your head.
And you know what’s attractive? Being able to move your arms.
Without your rotator cuff, using your arms would be much harder. Virtually every task…typing…driving…lifting…fuc…err hugging…would all become more painful and labor intensive.
Not to mention, if you can’t use your arms, you’ve got the functional capacity of a t-rex.
2. It keeps your arm from falling out of its socket
In addition to being an assistant to movement, your rotator cuff plays a key role in keeping your arm in its socket.
Now aside from the downside of having your arm fall off, which is only cute if you’re a zombie, here’s why this is a thing.
When the rotator cuff becomes weak, your arm starts to “hang” out of joint, because it can’t effectively resist gravity and the loads being placed upon it.
This forces other muscles work harder to create basic movements and creates poor alignment.
Not only does this increase your risk of injury, but it also leads to that oh-so-attractive “hunchback” posture and pain in your neck, shoulders, arms and wrists.
3. A strong rotator cuff means less neck and shoulder pain
If you have generalized neck and shoulder tension or pain without an initial traumatic incident, then you probably have a weak rotator cuff.
If you’ve (unintentionally) adopted not great body mechanics in or out of the gym, then odds are you aren’t using your rotator cuff effectively.
This causes your rotator cuff to say “screw this, I’m tired of never being taken out on dates. I’m going offline!”
And it does, but that doesn’t mean you stop using your arms. Rather you recruit other muscles like the pecs or biceps to attempt the same tasks.
However, those muscles aren’t specialized work like the rotator cuff, making them a poor imitation of the real thing, which causes your arm to move from a not so great place.
Over time, things start to click and grind and the rest of your muscles get cranky, because they’re stressed from being compressed or overstretched + over or underworked
Eventually, this leads to a revolt, where they send message to your brain saying, “We so did not sign up for this!” in the form of tension and pain.
The best way to get your cranky muscles off strike?
Chill the champagne, shave your legs and invite your rotator cuff on a date. You know you miss him (wink).
4. It gives you confident upright posture
Good, easeful posture is one of the fastest ways to look more attractive and confident, which is why it’s worth noting that one of the underlying culprits to the dreaded shoulder slump is a weak rotator cuff (more technical info on posture here).
So if you want an easy way to look better without having to change your hair, your weight or your wardrobe, take a little time to cozy up with you rotator cuff.
I know he’s nerdy. He speaks quietly and he’s not very big. He can only handle light weights and when he gets going, he’s so excited that he wants to go forever…10, 12 or even 15…reps for up to 3 rounds.
But he’s also a team player, so take him off the bench.
You don’t have to work your rotator cuff in isolation. In fact, you’ll get an even better result if you train the rotator cuff with other shoulder stabilizers and bigger muscle groups.
And if you add in some spinal (specifically upper back) twisting, side bending and extension? #money
Not sure where to start?
Try this! It’s a quick upper body workout guest starring the rotator cuff and whole bunch of other important muscles. All you need is a foam roller and (optional) 1 to 2 lb hand weights.
Pilates upper body exercises to improve posture
Small arm circles (perform 8 reps, then switch directions)
Arm scissors x 6 sets
Single arm chest fly x 4 sets
Triceps extension x 8 reps
Kneeling arm circles (perform 4 reps both directions, then switch sides)
Kneeling ball tosses x 8 reps (note, only do with soft/sand filled weights)
Mini back extensions x 4 reps
Salute x 4 reps
Swimming x 8 sets