As we get older we become more prone to damaging our joints. Wish it weren’t true, but that is the way it is. Having said that, there is a bunch we can do to help prevent injuries, both to our joints, and to our backs. I am focusing this post on a couple of exercises I do on a regular basis to help build the muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold my shoulder joints in position. These muscles, tendons and ligaments are collectively called the “Rotator Cuff”. I recommend that every one get used to doing these exercises and do them daily, especially if one is considering starting to do upper-body exercises, or increasing the severity of upper body exercises.
As with any exercise, the following moves should not cause you pain. If you feel pain, especially sharp pain, stop exercising. Start again with a lighter weight, or no weight, and only increase the weight when you are very comfortable with the movements.
The first exercise I call the “Rotator Cuff Flip Flop”. The goal in doing the exercise is not to move heavy weights – in fact, I am pretty comfortable doing this exercise with 10 or 15 pound dumb bells. The goal is to get good range of motion (rotating as far as you can), no sharp pain, and focusing on good balance as you are doing the exercise. I find this an excellent exercise to start out doing with both feet on the ground. Then, as you develop proficiency, progress to standing on one leg with the other leg on a Bosu ball, standing with both feet on the flat side of a Bosu ball, standing on one leg on a Bosu ball, and ultimately, kneeling on an exercise ball. I suppose the next thing we will have to try is standing on an exercise ball.
If you find it hard to believe you will ever do exercises standing on a Bosu ball, just take it slowly, and be consistent in your efforts. YOU WILL GET THERE!
I shot a short video of my doing this exercise: Rotater Cuff Flip Flops
The second exercise focuses on a different rotation, but is still an exercise that strengthens the rotator cuff. Once again, use a light weight and focus on a good range of motion and maintaining your balance.
Another Rotator Cuff Exercise
With time I will shoot more short videos of different exercises that I believe are especially relevant for all of us over 50 years old!