The rotator cuff does help with rotating the shoulder as the name implies, but it also keeps the shoulder in place during movement to prevent a dislocation.
It is comprised of 4 tiny muscles. Each with specific tasks, but not one alone is a primary mover in the shoulder joint.
Many times the pain that is associated with the shoulder has to do with poor leverage in the muscles themselves. This means the shoulder blade does not sit well on the ribcage, which will then change the orientation of the shoulder joint and the leverage of pull the rotator cuff muscles have.
The muscles just respond to the position the shoulder sits in, and if they are in a lengthened or disadvantage leverage point, compensation will arise, causing pain and potential shoulder injuries.
The goal is to identify the orientation of the shoulder and intervene based on the compensations taking place. That is why the old school banded exercises of rotating the arm in and out for "rotator cuff strengthening" are obsolete. They don't account for position, and some of the moves may reinforce a position that you DON'T want.
Below I made video on how you can use an overhead shoulder flexion test on yourself to identify where your shoulder gets stuck, and solutions you can utilize in the gym to actually correct the issue.
This is not an end all be all, but it is a better start than using the banded exercises aimlessly.
That is where we come in and can pinpoint your exact problem to get you back in the gym sooner, without losing strength.
If that sounds like something you want us to help you with, sign up for a Free Discovery Visit below where we can figure out what's going wrong with your hips in the squat and give a REAL solution to your problem.
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and enjoys to help active adults maintain their lifestyle and provide natural solutions to their pain.