I started tennis 1 year ago and now I started fencing. I successfully recovered from Ulnar claw here by strengthening forearms. Now I have poor blood circulation in shoulder cuff (reasons can be too stiffness, too muscular and poor warmups) that results into fatigue, low reaction speed and powerless activity.

What kind of warmup do you suggest for shoulder cuff after/before training?

1 Answer 1


Rotator cuff weaknesses do not translate into fatigue and low reaction speed. You might be confusing terms.

If you feel your arms react slowly and your shoulders feel fatigued too early, you are talking about the big muscles that raise and move your arms: rear, lateral and front deltoid in your shoulders, lats and other back muscles and so on. Those big muscles pull the humerus so that it changes its angle in space.

The head of the humerus is not perfectly spherical, but it is a complex surface with areas of different curvature radii. For the arm movement to take place correctly, simultaneously to the pull exerted by the big muscles there is a fine mechanism in action that puts the humeral head in exactly the right position, so that the pull from the big muscles does not result in a displacement of the bone or an impingement of soft tissues, but rather a smooth turn around a curvature center.

That group of small muscles deep inside your shoulders and back, not noticeables from the outside, are the rotator cuff. You never feel them (fatigued or whatever) unless they are injured. The less undesirable symptom you feel is usually that your shoulders make popping noises, but usually the result of weak or injured cuff is soft tissues impingement that causes pain and tendon injuries in the upper part of the shoulder.

The picture is simplified (the cuff muscles are known to assist in part of the range of motion when you move your arms in certain directions) but I think it is enough to give an idea.

You are probably looking for shoulder strengthening exercises. Dumbbell shoulder press with natural grip (palms facing each other) and elbows pointing slightly bent forwards (the so-called scapular plane) are quite safe as long as you start with very light weights and build up slowly. Avoid behind-the-neck presses at all cost.

If you are young and your shoulders don't hurt and you haven't noticed strange popping noises when you move them, you probably don't need any additional work for the rotator cuff. But if you insist on looking for rotator cuff exercises around the internet, please be careful. Those internal and external rotations with 90 deg elbows that you will find everywhere are meant to powerfully isolate the small muscles of the cuff in an artificial way, and it is extremely easy that you do a lot of damage to your shoulders if you don't do them properly.

The right way to do that internal and external rotations (provided that you insist in giving a separate workout to your rotator cuff) is using very light resistance and high rep sets.

  • I agree with the very light resistance and high rep sets to rotator cuff +1, even 1kg-2kg is enough with that kind of pulling-string system -- I noticed a remarkable improvement in my speed of moving arms. When you have done that long time enough, you can do it faster and faster. The reason is the improved blood circulation according to my couch. When you have done that really long, you may perhaps increase weights slowly -- for me this exercise has worked fine.
    – hhh
    Oct 12, 2014 at 18:41
  • Do you have some pictures about exercises you are suggesting? It would make easier to recap your writing.
    – hhh
    Oct 12, 2014 at 18:50
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    @hhh Here is a fantastic video explaining how to do the rotator cuff exercises but I must again warn you: Don't mess around with these exercises unless you definitely need them. If your shoulders are healthy you will probably do more damage than good.
    – Eduardo
    Oct 13, 2014 at 18:04
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    @hhh Regarding the exercises for strengthening your shoulders, push ups work them (specially if you maintain your elbows close to your torso) indirectly and quite safely. When you master the pushups, you can think of something more specific like a Dumbbell Press with neutral grip and elbows pointing slightly forward
    – Eduardo
    Oct 13, 2014 at 18:11
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    @hhh In any case, bear in mind that shoulders are a body part with very little tolerance to bad form or inappropriate exercises. If you are not experienced in lifting weights, you may damage them very easily. Half of the exercises you see in internet for isolating shoulders are dangerous in the long term.
    – Eduardo
    Oct 13, 2014 at 18:15

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