Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises with Kettlebells

Rotator cuff strengthening is a critical part of rehabilitating the shoulder and eliminating shoulder pain and weakness. Traditional shoulder exercises often isolate one or a couple muscles at a time.  The most common example is internal/external rotation with a band or dumbbells. Isolation strengthening works great for a lot of people, but for some people it isn’t enough. This program consists of functional rotator cuff strengthening exercises with kettlebells.  They’re functional because they target multiple big working muscles as well as the little assisting muscles.

Kettlebell Military Press

Kettlebell Military Press:

Repetitions: 5/side

Sets: 2

Frequency: 1x/day

  • Perform the military press at 30 to 45 degrees to the frontal plane. This is the natural plane of the scapula and the safest and most biomechanically efficient way to perform a military press. This position is approximately halfway between the arm if it is pointed straight forward and when it is out straight to the side.
  • With the KB resting on the back of the wrist press it straight up overhead while keeping your eyes on it during motion.
Kettlebell Halo

Kettlebell Halo

Repetitions: 10/direction

Sets: 1

Frequency: 1x/day

  • Stand with your feet about as wide as your hips. With a light to medium sized KB in front of you on the ground and use both hands to squat down and grab the KB. Grab the KB with both hands and the weight facing up.
  • Lift the KB to the right side of your face and circle it around the back of your head to the other side. Try to maintain control of the weight and avoid letting it touch your back.

 

Kettlebell Windmill

Kettlebell Windmill

Repetitions: 5/direction

Sets: 2

Frequency: 1x/day

  • Clean and press the KB overhead so the palm is facing forward and the weight is resting against the back of your wrist.
  • Stick your but out towards the side with the KB and angle your feet away from that side about 45 degrees. Reach with your free hand and touch the floor as you bed laterally at the hips. Maintain eye contact on the KB. When you touch the floor pause, then return to the initial position.

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Repetitions: 5/arm

Sets: 1

Frequency: 1x/day

  • Use a medium sized KB for this exercise and start on the floor lying on your side. Turn onto your back and straighten your right arm with the KB resting against the back of your wrist. Make sure to keep your eye on the KB.
  • Bend the leg on the same side as the KB and place your opposite arm out flat on the floor at 45 degrees.
  • Begin to sit up rising first to your free arm’s elbow and then to the hand. At the same time tuck the leg opposite the KB underneath so you are eventually kneeling on the floor.
  • Drive up from the heel on the side of the KB and bring the hips up and forward as the hips extend. You should be in a standing position and now look straight ahead.
  • Reverse all the steps back to the initial position.

Before beginning these, it’s always important to ask your doctor if these exercises are right for you.  For most people, they will be great for regaining strength and reducing shoulder pain.  They can also be beneficial if you’re just trying stabilize your shoulder and prevent injury.  I often recommend them to athletes who participate in CrossFit or functional fitness classes. If you have any questions about the rotator cuff or your personal case of your shoulder feel free to stop into our Cary, NC chiropractic clinic or see Dr. Jason at Forged Fitness in Raleigh, NC on Tuesday nights from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.