I had surgery performed on my shoulder. This greatly limits the exercises that I used to perform at the gym. What, if any, workouts can I do with one arm?

  • Do you permanently not have use of your one arm? If its temporary you should not overwork the good side so you don't get imbalances. – Gunge Apr 12 '17 at 6:59
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    There's some evidence that training one side of the body in light of an injury also has benefits for the non-trained side of the body. As for what you can do, that really depends on the nature of the injury (or surgery). You can do single arm dumbbell training for the upper body, while doing body-weight exercises for the lower body and core. Obviously not forgetting any rehab exercises you've been given, train those several times throughout the day (unless advised otherwise) – Dark Hippo Apr 12 '17 at 7:44
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    What does your physical therapist say to do? – JohnP Apr 12 '17 at 15:20
  • Let's not forget the elastic band. If you would normally loop it around something and pull with both hands, you could tie it instead of looping, and pull with one hand. – aparente001 Apr 13 '17 at 1:06

I like exercise bands. One arm curls. [reverse] fly is my favorite. Keep your core tight to counter the torque from the one armed fly to avoid moving your body. I do that more for a core workout than an arm workout.


I'm assuming the standard 4-6 weeks was your prognosis?

  • When attempting to recover from a rotator cuff injury, the main goal is to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder evenly and targeting your external rotators.

  • Workouts and not designed build muscle, but rather stabilization and flexibility.

  • I know you want to lift the way you normally do I'd highly recommend seeing a Physical Therapist to set you up with a plan during your recovery.

You do not Want this to become a recurring injury, besides lower back pain RO cuff injuries can very easily become chronic

  • Each subsequent injury the collagen becomes weaker. This is because collagen lacks a blood supply and instead of healing normally with fibers running parallel to each other, it's forms a random matrix (picture a plate of spaghetti).

  • Eccentric exercises are one proven way to combat this. They've been show to encourage collagen fibers regrowth in a more aligned pattern. Again you should be doing this with your PT during the healing phase.

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