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che9194 09-12-2011 04:45 PM

Need rotator cuff strengthening/stretching exercises
Not sure which forum to post this request, so apologies in advance if this is not the best spot.

Does anyone have good rotator cuff strengthening/stretching exercises?

As background, I’m currently at Practice 15 of 18 of the TI Beginner Stroke Efficiency Program and am starting to develop a sore right shoulder. I suspect the cause is some combination of right-side breathing and right arm/elbow catch issues, but I want to incorporate strengthening exercises while I continue to improve stroke inefficiencies that may be causing the soreness. BTW, I had the same shoulder soreness when I used to do triathlons in the early/mid 90's.

I will finish the Beginner Stroke Efficiency program this week, and plan to transition directly into the Intermediate Stroke Efficiency program. I also signed up for a video analysis class (4 sessions throughout the Fall) at my local YMCA that will give me feedback and additional drills that are specific to my issues. So far, I have eliminated a thumb-first entry that is often cited as a case of shoulder soreness. I completed the “breathing” practices, and can now bi-laterally breathe, although I will need much more practice for it to feel completely comfortable. The “catch” practices are coming this week.

I am back in the pool since 1996. The last time I swam was literally while attending a 1-day TI class in Boston (the hiatus is unrelated!) It is very interesting to see how the TI program has evolved.

activefish 09-12-2011 10:39 PM

I had quite a painful rotator cuff injury in the early summer. Couldn't even drive a car or change gear (manual over here in the UK) it was so painful. I found the best cure was complete rest for 4 days and then light stretching. actually managed to hurt is again by doing gentle arm rotations. When I got in the pool again I only did skating drills and no switches or arm stokes for a couple of sessions.

Here's a couple of pages of strengthening exercises I found and used for you to try. Can't verify the source but they worked for me.

My advice is to stop if there is the slightest twinge. A really bad rotator cuff injury can take months to repair itself and you don't want to agrovate it.


CoachBillL 09-12-2011 11:12 PM

See some pros -- really
You need to see a physical therapist. There's a pretty standard series of exercises for rotator cuff strain, but you're unlikely to do them well on your own. Then you need to find a TI coach (maybe this first) who will quickly identify the source of your strain. Waste no time!

Scotty 09-13-2011 01:59 AM

Elastic band stretches

I used to frequently experience rotator cuff pain from lifting weights. A physical therapist turned me on to five stretches using elastic bands which I use every day prior to swimming and lifting.

The bands are widely available and very inexpensive. I would start with a red band which offers moderate resistance.

To reinforce Coach Bill's comments, a breakdown in proper form could be the source of your problem. When I am fatigued or beginning to sprint I tend to initiate my pull with the shoulder rather than my lats. So make sure you address both the cause and the symptoms.


andyinnorway 09-13-2011 08:13 AM

I know in my local pool that the people gently rubbing their shoulders inbetween sets nearly all have crossover problems on their breathing side.

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