Things that Make Your Rotator Cuffs Angry at You

Shoulder Pain

When working out in the CrossFit gym, your rotator cuffs usually go through a lot of stress, and this could just be the reason why they hate you. Bearing in mind their strategic function; rotator cuffs must be taken care of well if you are to last longer in your training. Enlisted below are the things you need to watch out for.

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint together with its tendons, ligaments, and connective muscles have a much greater range of motion compared to all other joints in the human body. The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and connective tissue which combine to ensure movement happens. The incredibly complex structure which provides flexibility in movement patterns also exposes your shoulder joint to injuries. This is especially true for those athletes who spend most of their time in the gym pulling and pushing heavy iron.

Incomplete Warm-Up

Warm Up

Incomplete warm-up sessions cause most rotator cuff issues. Many CrossFit trainees fail to take enough time to do warm-ups before starting on the upper body movement. Experts recommend that you put together a set of callisthenic type workouts such as shoulder rolls and arm windmills before starting on your CrossFit workout. Finally, when you get to your actual exercise, ensure you perform a good number of progressively heavier warm-up sets to prepare your joints for the exact movement pattern it will be engaged in. 

Behind the Neck Movements


Behind the neck presses and pulldowns have been responsible for many cases of an injured rotator cuff. That said, these movements are necessary for the healthier shoulder joint. The question then comes, where do you draw the line? Experts in CrossFit say that behind the neck movements should be done in moderation and with the right technique. If you exaggerate the range of motion and use too much weight, it can be hazardous. As a tip, never allow the bar on presses or pulldowns to go below the level of your ears. This will prevent overstretching of the attachments.

Upright Rows

Upright Rows

As an exercise, upright rows can also exert a force on your rotators. However, it does so in a slightly different way from behind the neck movements. The problem comes when you perform this movement with a grip that is too close or with a lift that takes the bar too high at the point of contraction. This may cause impingement at the joint thereby resulting in irritation and pain of the rotator cuff tendons.


When you perform the same CrossFit exercises too often, overuse injuries may result. The rotator cuffs are the most vulnerable to this type of injury. Technically, when the body system is forced through the same movement pattern for a lengthened period, it causes microtrauma in the surrounding bones, joints, and tendons which ultimately lead to injury. CrossFit is designed so well such that every day your body is taken through a series of different workouts on a rotating basis.

Other reasons that threaten the rotator cuffs include failure to train your rotator cuffs directly, lifting heavy within short ranges, and having sloppy form or technique.

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