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Unravelling the Mystery of the Rotator Cuff: The Secret to Taking Care of Your Shoulders

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Are your shoulders giving you trouble? If so, it's time to get to the bottom of the issue and figure out why. You can start by banishing any sinister notions you have about pesky rotator cuff injuries: rather than a supernatural force, it is in fact just an anatomical term for four muscles that provide stability and movement to the shoulder joint. In other words, understanding its function will help you take better care of your shoulders - and isn't that worth unraveling the mystery? So let’s dig into this deeper and, demystify misconceptions about rotator cuffs along with plenty of helpful tips and tricks for protecting them!


the rotator cuff muscles allow a free-flowing movement as your shoulder articulates

The rotator cuff muscles are a group of four muscles that allow for free movement of the shoulder joint. They are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles. These muscles attach to the shoulder blade and the upper arm bone, and their primary function is to rotate the arm. They also help stabilise the shoulder joint. Injury to these muscles can cause pain and a limited range of motion.


There are 2 key movements, internal rotation (subscapularis) and external rotation (infraspinatus and teres minor)

The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for rotating and stabilising the shoulder/ arm. There are two key movements: internal rotation and external rotation. The internal rotators are the subscapularis, pectoralis minor, and latissimus dorsi. The external rotators are the infraspinatus, teres minor, and posterior deltoid.


The subscapularis is the primary internal rotator. It originates on the anterior surface of the scapula and inserts on the lesser tubercle of the humerus. The pectoralis minor originates on the ribs and inserts on the coracoid process of the scapula. The latissimus dorsi originates on the lumbar spine and inserts on the teres major and humerus.


The infraspinatus and teres minor are the primary external rotators. They originate on the posterior surface of the scapula and insert on the greater tubercle of the humerus. The posterior deltoid also contributes to external rotation. It originates on the posterior surface of the shoulder blade and inserts on the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus.


Our postures, leaning forward, rounded upper back and forward-leaning head create an imbalance of the internal rotator muscles making them prone to being dominant

Our posture plays a big role in our overall health and well-being. Poor posture can lead to a number of issues, including back pain, neck pain, and even headaches. One of the most common postural problems is an imbalance of the internal rotator muscles. These muscles are responsible for rotating the arms and shoulders inward. When they are dominant, we tend to lean forward and round our upper back. This can cause a lot of tension in the neck and shoulders and can lead to pain and discomfort.


There are a few things you can do to help correct this imbalance and improve your posture. First, make sure you are sitting up straight with your shoulders back. You may also want to consider doing some exercises that target the internal rotator muscles. Some good exercises to try include shoulder circles, reverse flies, and sometimes lateral raises. Finally, be mindful of your posture when you are standing and walking. Try to keep your head up and your shoulders back, and avoid slouching or leaning forward. With a little bit of practice, you can correct your poor posture and start feeling better than ever!


Strengthen the posterior chain to improve posture and specific exercises for the external rotators as well as stretching the anterior chain

The posterior chain is made up of muscles in the back of the body, including the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors. These muscles are responsible for posture and helping to move the body forward. Strengthening these muscles can improve posture and help prevent injuries.


One great way to strengthen the posterior chain is through exercises that target the external rotators of the hips. These muscles are responsible for rotating the hip joint outwards, and strengthening them can help improve athletic performance and prevent injuries. There are a number of exercises that can target these muscles, including resistance/weight training and resistance band exercises, Pilates exercises, and yoga poses.


Another part of the posterior chain that often gets overlooked is the hamstring muscles. These muscles are responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip, and they are often weak and shortened. Strengthening these muscles can help improve overall function and reduce the risk of injury. There are a number of exercises that can target the hamstrings, including leg curls, glute bridges, and clamshells.


Finally, another way to strengthen the posterior chain is by stretching the anterior chain. The anterior chain is made up of muscles in the front of the body, including the chest, abs, and quads. These muscles are responsible for pushing or pulling movements and are often tight in people with poor posture. Stretching these muscles can help improve posture and reduce the risk of injury. There are a number of stretches that can target these muscles, including chest stretches, ab stretches, and quad stretches.


'using specific strengthening and stretching exercises can resolve many issues with the shoulder. Yoga, pilates, and using specific weight-bearing exercises - consistency is key as posture can take several months to improve, but you’ll experience relief along the way'



Shoulder pain is a very common ailment, and it can be resolved through specific strengthening and stretching exercises. Yoga, pilates, and weight-bearing exercises are all great options for improving shoulder health. However, it is important to be consistent with these exercises in order to see results. It may take several months for your posture to improve, but you will experience relief along the way. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, be sure to consult a doctor or physical therapist to get started on the right exercises for you.


The rotator cuff muscles are an important part of the shoulder, and when they are imbalanced it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. There are many different causes of these imbalances, but some of the most common include poor posture, repetitive motions, and injury. The symptoms of these imbalances can range from mild to severe and include everything from decreased range of motion to complete loss of function. Treatment for rotator cuff imbalances usually includes a combination of physical therapy exercises and manual manipulation by a qualified professional.


In some cases, surgery may also be necessary. Prevention is always the best medicine, so if you do any activities that put your shoulders at risk be sure to warm up properly beforehand and stretch afterward. If you are experiencing any shoulder or neck pain, get in contact with Ewan today for a full and comprehensive treatment and exercise plan customised specifically for you.


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lindsey.barker
04 de jan. de 2023

Your Shoulder pain explanation and solution a much needed reminder for my dodgy shoulder that I have been ignoring!!! Thanks Ewan, sage advice as always 🙂

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11 de jan. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thank you Lindsey, well done for continuing with your exercises and thank you for posting a comment!

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