Fact: there are 64o muscles in your body?
Incredible isn’t it!
They range from the largest muscle which is your gluteus maximus to the smallest which is called the stapedius.
But when it comes to your rotator cuff muscles, it is not that simple.
Here’s the thing…
Your rotator cuff is not simply one muscle.
It is comprised of 4 muscles which come together to form your shoulder.
You’d be surprised of how many individuals think that their rotator cuff is one muscle and in order to strengthen it …
You only need to perform one exercise.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
In order to effectively recover from your shoulder injury, you need to first learn which muscle has been injured but …
You still need to strengthen all four of your rotator cuff muscles to ensure that they are all perfectly balanced.
Let’s quickly go through each of these and explain a little about their specific function:
This muscle allows you to reach over head or catch a ball.
It is important in helping your shoulder externally rotate and provides stability as well.
The tiniest of the four.
The primary function of this little workhorse is to slow your arm down after you perform a throwing action such as throwing a ball or any other item.
It is very much a negative resistance muscle but is ever so important for your shoulder to function properly and stay in great overall health.
Here is another great resource over at MedlinePlus about rotator cuff muscles.
This is the largest of the four.
Hence the reason why it gets the name Supra.
It helps keep the top part of your humerus bone snugly in place at the shoulder joint.
Along with assistance of your deltoid muscle, the supraspinatus is engaged when you lift your arm away from your body.
What makes the Supraspinatus “special” is that the majority of rotator cuff tears happen here.
And tears that occur to this muscle can take the longest time to heal…
Due to the fact that this muscle is the largest, it also does most of the work.
Any pushing or pulling movement with your arm is going to involve this muscle.
There is simply no way around it.
And to make matters worse …
Your Supraspinatus blood supply is limited.
Why does this matter?
Because in order for muscle or tendons to repair fully and properly, there needs to be a good supply of blood.
When you have inflammation and swelling, this is normally old blood that pools in the area.
It is important to flush this old blood out of the area and get new, fresh blood in there.
New blood contains minerals and nutrients which is important for tissue repair.
Without it, injuries to muscles and tendons usually take much longer to heal.
Last but not least …
The Subscapularis Muscle
Primary function of this muscle is for the inward rotation of your arm.
Think about the action of throwing a ball.
When your arm follows through after releasing the ball, the subscapularis provides assistance to bring your arm down by your side.
You may even think that your bicep muscle is important for shoulder function and …
You’d be right but, it’s only the long head of your bicep that helps support and stabilize your shoulder joint.
Here is a little “tidbit” of information that is useful.
You may come across other articles or information on that refers to your shoulder joint as your glenohumeral joint.
It is the same thing.
It is used mostly on medical websites but for the majority of individuals, the term shoulder joint is more commonly used.
Check out my other post on the top 10 most effective exercises for strengthening your rotator cuff of all time.
Other Shoulder Muscles
Besides your rotator cuff, there are other muscles of your shoulder that are important.
They are divided into two groups:
Intrinsic – their origin is at the clavicle and attach at your humerus bone.
The strongest and most well known of the intrinsic group is your deltoid.
It is triangular in shape and is divided into anterior, middle and posterior parts.
Anterior is the front of your delt, middle is obviously the middle and posterior is the back part of your delt.
Another important muscle in this group is the teres major.
It sits just below your deltoid.
It aids in shoulder adduction and provides assistance for when you rotator your arm.
Extrinsic – originate at your torso and span up to and attach at the bones of your shoulder.
The two most important muscles in this group are the latissmus dorsi and trapezius.
The first one, the trapezius muscle is flat and forms a triangle shape at the base of your neck.
The top fibers of your trapezius are responsible for elevating your shoulder upwards, the middle fibers pull your shoulders backwards and lower fibers aid in lowering and pulling your shoulder downwards.
Last but not least…
Your latissmus dorsi muscle has an origin at the bottom of your part where is spans outwards and upwards in a fan shape.
It allows your arm to move away(extend) from your body and rotate your arm away from your bodies mid line.
Here is what you need to know …
Any injury to any of these shoulder or rotator cuff muscles can cause severe pain.
Due to the fact that they are all connected in some form or another, a tear to one of them causes the muscle to shorten
Resulting in a pulling action which in turn decreases your range of motion and normal flexibility.
When not injured, your muscles slide and move quite freely.
But the slightest strain or tear sends everything into caos.
Thankfully, you don’t have to dip into your life savings to rehab your shoulder back into tip top shape.
There are four very simple, easy-to-follow steps that you can do at home that will erase your pain and strengthen your muscles in no time at all.
And want to know the best part?
Everything you need to get started can be found in your home.
There is no need to purchase any special rehab equipment or waste money on trips back and forth to Physio or Doctors.
Sounds almost to good to be true doesn’t it?
Well, it’s not!
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