Stretching the Rotator Cuff

Stretching is always a good idea for any athlete, and the rotator cuff is of primary importance to swimmers, but doing it correctly is important to getting the benefits. There is one common error I see frequently that I want to help clear up when stretching the rotator cuff.

A very common and effective stretch is done leaning over, with your weight supported on one arm.  The arm to be stretched hanging free, see the position in figure 1. To correctly perform this stretch you should relax the hanging arm and then, using your legs, move your body to create the arm swing. This stretch can be done creating swing left and right, front and back, or in a circle. The common error is using the arm to create the movement.

Don’t confuse stretching with strength building. The same general exercise can also be used to build strength, in which case you would generate the motion with the rotator cuff muscles.

This short video will show you correct and incorrect versions of the stretch.

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