By Jared Evans

The rotator cuff is actually four separate muscles that work together to stabilize the shoulder joint. They also can work with other larger muscles to create rotation of the upper arm or slow it down.

Preventing Rotator Cuff Tears

These muscles are small and delicate compared to the powerhouses of the upper body such as the pectorals, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius muscles. Nevertheless, their health is crucial for powerful serves and groundstrokes in tennis. If you want to keep playing tennis and playing well, spend some time taking care of these important muscles. Here are two simple exercises to ensure you have strong healthy shoulders.

Building Your Shoulder Strength

Repeat this exercise for 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

Facepulls– For this exercise, you will need a high pulley cable machine with a rope attachment. Grab the rope and pull the center of the rope towards the bridge of your nose, flaring the elbows out wide. In the finish position, the hands should be above the shoulders, or as close to it as possible. The focus for this exercise is the back of the shoulder and the space between the shoulder blades. 


Repeat this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Cuban Press– This exercise only requires a pair of fairly lightweight dumbbells. Start with the weights hanging down slightly in front of the body with the palms facing backward. Pull the elbows up to the height of your shoulders and try to let the dumbbells hang under the elbows while you do this. You may feel a stretch in this position if your shoulders are tight or have been injured before, so go slowly and with light weight.
From this position rotate the dumbbells back so that your hands are above your elbows and your elbows stayed at shoulder height through this movement. From here press the dumbbells directly overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse this process to complete one repetition. 

Strengthen Your Shoulders to Avoid Injury

Rotator cuff tears occur as an accumulation of small repeated injuries due to weak shoulder muscle support. Work with a fitness instructor and use these exercises to strengthen your shoulders and add power to your serves and groundstrokes.

Contact Us to learn more about preventing rotator cuff tears or to get started with a personal fitness program.