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jaegermeister
May 12th, 2008, 09:42 PM
I'm having stubborn RC issues. Oddly, I didn't recognize that I was having trouble till I returned to the pool after about 9-10 days away on a ski vacation (no injuries incurred on the slopes). I could justify living on Alleve through nats, but now I know I've got to get this under control.

I started back in on my RC exercises that I was given a few years ago. I'm sure they're the standard ones we've all been doing. What surprised me was that my wife (a non-swimmer with RC issues of her own) looked at me and said "What are you doing?". And in this case, I think she was right.

I was muscling up an 8# weight and doing around 15 reps for each exercise. She said that her therapist insisted that resistance for RC exercises should be low, since the muscles involved are small. As soon as you increase the weight, this logic goes, you start recruiting the bigger scapular stabilizing muscles and do nothing for the RC. She was told women start at 1# (or less), men 3#, but never more than 5#. Each repetition is held for about 2 seconds, and then repeated for up to 30 times.

I don't know where I went astray here. I've started doing my RC exercises with my wife's direction. My shoulder still hurts when I swim, but after doing the exercises, it feels, well, different. Maybe more stable.

Any thoughts?

meldyck
May 12th, 2008, 09:57 PM
Tom,

try this site: http://www.orthop.washington.edu/uw/tabID__3422/Default.aspx

I've looked at it and it has some pretty good stuff and I routinely do RC exercises using some of their suggestions.

Allen Stark
May 12th, 2008, 10:10 PM
My first Physical Therapist said the same thing about low weight.The last one I saw disagreed saying that the RC muscles needed to counter balance the big chest muscles and that I should work up slowly to 15 lb.I have done that and am pain free for the first time in years(at least today anyway:cane:.)

The Fortress
May 12th, 2008, 10:26 PM
My first Physical Therapist said the same thing about low weight.The last one I saw disagreed saying that the RC muscles needed to counter balance the big chest muscles and that I should work up slowly to 15 lb.I have done that and am pain free for the first time in years(at least today anyway:cane:.)

Hmmm ... But I thought you weren't using the RC muscles as much with higher weights? That you were recruiting other major muscles to do the work? As Tom's wife suggests, I've been using 3 pound weights, sometimes 5 for certain exercises.

I've been negligent about my RC exercises lately too. That and not weight lifting (and sleeping on your side) are NOT a good combo.

Have you seen the Buchberger video, Tom? There are loads of RC exercises in that one. I own it, but haven't watched it in ages. Remedial RC training is in order for me too!

ALM
May 12th, 2008, 11:25 PM
I collect RC exercise routines the way some people collect Olympian signatures on flags. :o

Tom, your wife is correct, at least according to everything I've read.

Years ago I saw an article in the local paper about the new trainer for the Kansas City Royals (NO JOKES PLEASE - IT WAS BACK WHEN THEY WERE, WELL, BETTER THAN THEY ARE NOW). The article was about how he had put all of the pitchers on an RC exercise routine as a sort of preventative thing.

I called the trainer and asked him if he would share his routine with me. He mailed me a copy of it. Here is what the introduction says:



"All players need to build and maintain strength in their throwing shoulder. This should be a year-round endeavor, adjusted to the demands of the season. All players should begin the shoulder routine about four weeks after the end of their season.

The routine that follows should be done daily until March. After this date you may cut back to five days per week, unless told otherwise by your trainer. Everyone should begin with 2-3 pounds and do 10 reps of all eight exercises. When this number is comfortable for at least a week, increase to 15 reps until that becomes comfortable for at least a week, before moving up to 20 reps, building back up with the same guilelines. You should reach a maximum of five pounds and one set of 20 reps. Please follow these guidelines and do not exceed what has been recommended unless given a different program by your trainer to address a specific injury."


So it sounds like even for professional male athletes they don't recommend going over five pounds.

I have another good routine that came out of the old "Fitness Swimmer" magazine. It's the one I do the most because it's simple - seven exercises that can all be done in front of the TV.

If you are interested in seeing either of these routines, I could try to scan them and e-mail them to you.

Also, there is a good article on the USA Swimming web site that contains lots of exercises:

http://usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=445&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en-US&mid=700&ItemId=700

Anna Lea

SwimStud
May 13th, 2008, 08:53 AM
My first Physical Therapist said the same thing about low weight.The last one I saw disagreed saying that the RC muscles needed to counter balance the big chest muscles and that I should work up slowly to 15 lb.I have done that and am pain free for the first time in years(at least today anyway:cane:.)

Allen you have burly breaststoker's shoulders though...breastrokers RC's can handle a lot more weight than those other strokers...

Seriously though, I've been told no more than 5lb with a ref to the MLB pitchers doing the same. Not saying Allen is wrong, if it worked for him it worked.

geochuck
May 13th, 2008, 09:00 AM
I think I solved Forts RC problem in a PM

gull
May 13th, 2008, 09:22 AM
I have been using Therabands for several years. I have slowly worked my way up to the black ones. I was told to use light resistance and more reps (30-45). It's worked for me.

jaegermeister
May 13th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Interesting range of replies. I will wisely tell my wife she is right again!

There may be a few that need clarification that RC= rotator cuff, as in shoulder, as in the scourge many of us face.

I should also say that one boon to doing my RC exercises has been my iPod. Now instead of feeling like I've wasted 15 minutes of prime time, I can listen to a podcast, Dave Matthews, etc. etc.

A lot of physical therapists around here give out therabands. They looked too wimpy for me, but I must have had it wrong. The whole point of this thread, I think, is that we aren't sculpting anything that's visible with our RC routines.

SwimStud
May 13th, 2008, 10:04 AM
A lot of physical therapists around here give out therabands. They looked too wimpy for me, but I must have had it wrong. The whole point of this thread, I think, is that we aren't sculpting anything that's visible with our RC routines.

Therabands are awesome and can pack into your swim bag for a warm up routine

...now if you are intersted in sculpting ...check out breaststroke...

gull
May 13th, 2008, 10:53 AM
A lot of physical therapists around here give out therabands. They looked too wimpy for me, but I must have had it wrong. The whole point of this thread, I think, is that we aren't sculpting anything that's visible with our RC routines.


These are small muscles. You should not feel a lot of resistance with the exercises. I believe I started with the red ones and progressed very slowly (months). The article on the USA Swimming site is a nice summary.

Loffe
May 13th, 2008, 12:24 PM
Excercise is many times good in order to make the often weak muscles stronger. But sometimes you will have to take away the problem first, before getting into exercises or strtches. The problem does not always have to be weak RC muscles. And exercises/stretches can sometimes even make the problem worse.

But stronger RC can most certainly help prevent future problems.

A muscle can end up being very tense for many reason, sometimes during a sudden impact and sometimes during tear and wear..