Physical Therapy Corner: Using Your Total Gym For Shoulder Rehab



Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.50.38 PM

Healing a Rotator Cuff or Shoulder Injury with Total Gym Exercises

Depending on the extent of the tear to one or more of the tendons in your shoulder, surgery may be required. Rehabbing your shoulder typically takes multiple steps before recovery is complete.

The initial phase is centered on protecting the shoulder joint and rotator cuff, while the later phases address strengthening, functional activities, and prevention. The timeline of each phase is dependent on the tear and/or surgical repair, however the more progressive strengthening will typically occur 3 to 5 months post-injury or surgery.

The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles termed the SITS muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. These muscles assist in controlling how the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage, and how the shoulder blade moves with arm movements. Injury to the rotator cuff can often be a result of poor posture, biomechanics overuse, or trauma.

Total Gym Exercises To Perform During The Strengthening Phase of Rehab

One way to increase strength is to maintain or lower the intensity but increase the lever. We will follow this philosophy and capture Total Gym’s ease of flowing through movements, and set the stage for incorporating more functional and preventative exercises.

Perform the following exercises for 30-60 seconds completing at least 8-15 reps/set. Start on a lower incline level and focus on keeping the shoulders the away from the ear. Remember all motions should be pain free. Initially start with completing less range of motion and increase as able.

 While Lying On Your Back Facing Away From Tower Holding Handles:

1. Pullover

  • Gradually progress your range of motion to reaching back toward the tower.
  • As the arms reach overhead, avoid the shoulders rising up toward the ears.
  • Alternate arms or perform static equilibrium for a greater challenge.

2. Shoulder Adduction

  • Start with the arms reaching only to shoulder height. Eventually increase the range to reach toward the tower.

3. Shoulder “Y”

  • Range of motion is from mid-thigh to shoulder height.
  • As the arms reach overhead, avoid the shoulders rising up toward the ears.

Seated Facing Away From The Tower:

1. Shoulder Flexion (Front Shoulder Raise)

  • Visualize the shoulder pulling away from the ears, as you raise the arm up.
  • Be careful not to lock out the elbows.
  • Only raise the arm to shoulder level.
  • Alternate arms or perform static equilibrium for a greater challenge.

2. Shoulder “ Y”

  • Imagine making a “Y “ or “V” shape.
  • Only raise the arm to shoulder level.

Seated Facing The Tower

1. Shoulder Extension

  • Visualize reaching the hand toward the floor as the arms pull backward.
  • Alternate arms or perform static equilibrium for a greater challenge.

2. Shoulder Horizontal Abduction, “T”

  • Palms face the floor. To vary, you can have the palms facing the tower or backward.
  • Imagine the arms pressing down on a countertop to assist with the shoulders pulling away from the ears.

3. External Rotation

  • Elbows can be lower than the shoulders and then gradually progress to shoulder level.

While On Your Back Facing the Tower

Note: Use your feet on the rails for support or assistance.

1. Front Shoulder Raise

  • Start with one arm, and progress to using both arms. Note: when pulling with both arms, the range will be less.
  • Add static equilibrium for a variation.

2. Lateral Shoulder Raise

  • Start with one arm, and progress to using both arms. Note: when pulling with both arms, the range will be less.
  • Add static equilibrium for a variation.

3. Biceps

  • Maintain the elbows aligned with the shoulders, which may mean that the upper arm is slightly off the glideboard.
  • Keep the shoulders sliding away from the ears.
    • Maintain the elbows still in space.

While Lying On Your Belly

1. Shoulder Extension

  • As the arms are pulling back, keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears.
  • Pull both arms back together, alternate arms, or perform static equilibrium.

2. Shoulder Adduction

  • Keep the range from shoulder height to the hips
  • Ensure the arms are not falling toward the floor; rather push them slightly back toward the sky.

3. Triceps

  • Keep the elbows still in space.
  • Imagine the elbows as back headlights; ensure that they do not fall toward the floor.
  • Palms can face each other, away or toward the tower.

Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues.Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

6
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
DanmrissalaTotal Gym DirectTotal Gymbetty shirrell Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
betty shirrell
Guest
betty shirrell

Im a military veteran . My back was broken in three places. Im at risk for any surgery. I purchased a total gym to keep from becomming dependant on healthcare. I had to give my gym up when i moved to tennessee. I had a full size gym. It would help me realign my spine and wouldnt have as much pain. Im looking for another gym. Not just for my back but knees to. Could you please direct me to whatever i need. Id like the 30 day free trial and pay so much a month. Pleade notify me at… Read more »

Total Gym Direct
Admin

Hi Betty, you can find our pricing structures for different models here: http://www.totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-products.php

mrissala
Guest

I sure would like illustrations for the above exercises. I’ve been searching the Internet for Total-gym exercises that go beyond the training deck, to no avail.

Total Gym Direct
Admin

There is a YouTube video demonstrating the exercises at the top of the post.

mrissala
Guest

Thank you!

Dan
Guest
Dan

I am a longtime Total Gym user. I bought one nearly 20 years ago, from EFI, to rehab after a lower back injury. It’s still in great shape, and I’ve used it to maintain muscle into my mid-60s. I just had shoulder surgery for rotator tears, and bone spurs. While the Total Gym shoulder rehab videos offer great exercises, my bicep was also damaged and repaired, and needs a lot of time to heal before I can work it. So far, my rehab has been all stretching exercises, but I’d like to incorporate the Total Gym later. Do you have… Read more »

CLOSE MENU