Normative Values of Isometric Shoulder Strength among Healthy Adults.

Screenshot 2023-07-18 at 10.14.39 PM

Normative Values of Isometric Shoulder Strength among Healthy Adults.

Bradley H, Pierpoint L.



Background: Normative data is useful for comparing measured values of strength with population norms and can avoid the issues associated with limb symmetry index. The available normative shoulder strength values are limited by constraints on research designs and variability in subject groups which prevents this data being successfully extrapolated to the greater population.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish normative isometric strength values for various movements of the shoulder that are specific to function and rotator cuff strength. A secondary goal of this study was to analyze the effect of age, gender, weight, height, activity level and arm dominance on shoulder strength.

Design: Observational cohort study

Methods: Subjects in four age groups (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59) were included in this study—200 males (40.0 ± 11.6 years, 179.1 ± 6.5 cm, 81 ± 13.0 kg) and 200 females (40.1 ± 11.5 years, 165.3 ± 7.4sm, 64.4 ± 11.6 kg). Bilateral isometric strength measurements were taken with a handheld dynamometer testing seven shoulder movements. Tables of normative strength data were constructed. Multivariate analyses were performed to analyze the effects of age, gender, weight, height and activity level on isometric shoulder strength.

Results: Men were stronger than women (p<0.001). Age was not associated with most strength measures with the exception of dominant arm abduction (p<0.004), non-dominant arm abduction (p<0.028) and non-dominant arm scapular plane abduction (p<0.004) which had a negative association with strength. Weight was positively associated with strength (p<0.001). Activity level was positively associated with all strength measures (p<0.05) except dominant sided abduction (p=0.056). There were no statistically significant differences between dominant and non-dominant sides.

Conclusion: This normative data may be useful to the clinician, as it permits a standard against which to compare shoulder strength for various age groups. Clinicians can have confidence that the uninvolved limb, if symptom free, can be used as an adequate benchmark for strength measures.

Levels of Evidence: Level 3