Healthy Workout Tips: Protecting Your Rotator Cuffs
The rotator cuffs are a set of four slender muscles that curve around the joint connecting the shoulder to the upper arm. These four muscles extend from the collar bone and join at the outmost point of the shoulder like the arms of a starfish, and while they provide the shoulder with a wide range of motion, they’re also very delicate. A simple twist, jerk, or hyperextension in the wrong direction can seriously injure these muscles and sideline an athlete for an entire season or longer. So can a stressful repetitive motion that goes uncorrected. So how can you protect your rotator cuffs while you work out? Here are a few tips.
Protect Your Rotator Cuffs from Injury
- Choose the right weight lifting gloves. How can fitness gloves protect your shoulders? The answer is simple: Slip-proof workout gloves provide a tighter grip on heavy workout equipment, and a tighter grip means better control.
- Skip workout moves or machines that raise your arms overhead past the level of your ears. Your fitness gloves can’t help you if you overextend the shoulder voluntarily.
- When reaching your arms out to your sides, keep both arms at or in front of your body plane. Imagine your back is pressed against a wall. Your arms need to stop when they reach the wall.
- Stop any workout move if you feel tingling, numbness, or pinching in the shoulder area. Rotator cuff injuries often happen when athletes try to power through pain and only increase the damage caused by a tear or pinched nerve.
- Make sure all of your gear—not just your workout gloves—is in a good condition and appropriate for the workout session ahead. Choose the right shoes and clothes, and don’t overload weight machines. Always lift heavy weights with a spotter.