I apologize if this already has an answer, but the wither questions all seemed slightly different, so I’ll give it a shot here and see what I get.

Currently I have a five day work out plan setup like this:

  1. Legs / abs
  2. Chest
  3. Back/abs
  4. Shoulders/abs
  5. Arms

I also have some kind of rotator cuff injury that has persisted for awhile. I don’t know what started it - but the pain is pretty near constant, and ranges from almost non-existent to maybe 7 / 10.

My question is - is it possible to incorporate exercises to help heal it into my current plan.?

Curiously, with the exception of front dumbbell lifts and military presses, the only time it doesn’t seem to hurt is when I’m working out.

I’ve researched some exercises. Is there a specifically recommended way to incorporate exercises for healing rotator cuff injuries into a regular weight training regimen?

  • 3
    As someone who has had a rotator cuff repair, you should be seeking the advice of a physical therapist, or, your personal physician. If you have a tear, no amount of exercise is going to heal it.
    – rrirower
    Nov 20, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    Assuming it's nothing serious (to quote Dan John, surgery is God's way of letting us know we've done something wrong), then I'd throw in some simple rotator cuff / shoulder work at the start of every session. External rotations, face pulls, inverted row to face pull, anything really that you can find. The best way of rehabbing something is to keep working at it.
    – Dark Hippo
    Nov 21, 2017 at 8:52
  • 1
    @DarkHippo Depending on the nature of the injury, there may be some movement contraindications. I'm not sure "keep working at it" is good advice.
    – rrirower
    Nov 21, 2017 at 21:22
  • 1
    @rrirower Hence the "Assuming it's nothing serious". Plus I'm assuming that no one is stupid enough to think "Oh, I did this on Monday and now I can't lift my arm above my head... I'll do it again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, because that'll make it better". Though saying that, I have met some monumentally stupid people...
    – Dark Hippo
    Nov 22, 2017 at 8:31
  • 1
    Get that shoulder imaged, you'll know pretty fast if you can (and should) work through it, vs get the knife.
    – Eric
    Nov 22, 2017 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


As others have said, it would be a good idea to seek the advice of a physical therapist, in case it is more serious than you think.

With that said, I have shoulder impingement in both of my shoulders and the pain and range of motion have vastly improved with the exercises and modifications I have listed below. I do these exercises on shoulder day once a week.

It is most important (for all weightlifters really) to include external rotation exercises to protect the shoulders, otherwise over time one could develop a shoulder imbalance which leads to rotator cuff injury, which can then hinder other pushing exercises such as bench and overhead press.

I have linked several of the exercises to videos by physical therapist and strength coach Jeff Cavaliere, of ATHLEAN-X. I highly recommend his advice, he has a strong focus on injury prevention.

  • Modified Shoulder Lateral Raises — bend over at the waist slightly, keep elbows bent and externally rotate your arms at the top (thumbs up).
  • Scaption instead of Front Raises — thumbs up, arms at approximately a 45-degree angle (narrower or wider depending on your shoulder anatomy). I don't go super heavy with this.
  • Face Pull — best explained by watching the video. Make sure to have your thumbs up at the top. I also do not do this one heavy. Focus on form.
  • Additional External Rotation Exercises — If you still have some energy you can add one or so of these exercises from Jeff's video (exercises start at 7:06) or do all of them after chest day (for example).

Hope this helps!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.