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Shoulder Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises with a Resistance Band

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Updated May 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Starting Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises

Shoulder pain can limit your ability to move your arm properly during basic tasks like reaching to put away dishes or brushing your hair. There are many causes of shoulder pain including arthritis, a rotator cuff or labrum tear, or a shoulder dislocation.

Physical therapy for shoulder pain typically focuses on decreasing your pain and improving your shoulder range of motion (ROM) and strength so you can regain normal function. Your physical therapist may use therapeutic modalities like ultrasound, heat, or ice to help you manage your pain. Active exercises are essential to helping you regain normal mobility in your shoulder after injury.

Exercises to help increase your shoulder strength may be prescribed by your physical therapist. The exercises contained in this step-by-step article are common shoulder exercises to help strengthen your shoulder and rotator cuff muscles.

If you have shoulder pain or have had shoulder surgery, you should ask your doctor if physical therapy is needed to help you improve your shoulder mobility. Also, be sure to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise program and before attempting the exercises in this article.

Before starting these strengthening exercises, you must obtain a resistance band. You can purchase these bands at your local sporting goods store, or your local outpatient physical therapy clinic might be happy to provide you with some for a small fee. Be sure to get the right resistance. Usually different color bands indicate different amounts of resistance in the band. Again, a quick consult with your physical therapist here can ensure that you are using a band with the proper resistance.

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