Muscle Activations of the Upper Extremity and Core during Elevation and Rotational Movements in Overhead Throwing Athletes.

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Muscle Activations of the Upper Extremity and Core during Elevation and Rotational Movements in Overhead Throwing Athletes.

Owens LP, Khaiyat O, Coyles G.

 

ABSTRACT

Background: A strong body of literature has been published outlining muscle activity differences during sports performance in groups of overhead athletes. However, there are limited studies that have directly compared the muscle activity in overhead athletes with and without history of shoulder injury during functional everyday tasks.

Purpose: This study aimed to identify muscle activities across fourteen upper extremity and core muscles during three functional everyday movements in athletes with and without history of shoulder injury.

Study Design: Cross-Sectional Study

Methods: Thirty-two male overhead throwing athletes (fifteen healthy and seventeen injured) were recruited and completed three everyday functional movements of high elevation, low elevation, and rotation, using their dominant arm to move an object between two fixed positions. Electromyography (EMG) was recorded for fourteen muscles including: biceps brachii, deltoids (anterior, medial, and posterior), trapezius (upper and lower), pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, infraspinatus, external obliques, and gluteus maximus (all surface electrodes) and supraspinatus (fine wire electrode). Mixed model repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc analysis assessed mean muscle activity (%MVC) between groups and each movement phase.

Results: Upper trapezius elicited higher mean activity in healthy athletes during both phases of the arm rotation task (p < 0.05). No differences between groups were evident for arm elevation tasks. Qualitative analysis of muscle patterns during functional tasks reflected a temporal shift in muscle activation timings and magnitudes between athlete groups, suggesting potential compensatory mechanisms in injured athletes.

Conclusion: Injured overhead athletes appear to utilize other upper limb and shoulder girdle muscles to compensate for lower upper trapezius activity during functional everyday tasks.

Level of Evidence: 3

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