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Am J Sports Med. 1991 May-Jun;19(3):264-72.

Electromyographic analysis of the glenohumeral muscles during a baseball rehabilitation program.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, Inglewood, CA 90301.


Many exercises are used to strengthen the glenohumeral muscles, but there have been limited studies to evaluate the exercises. Thus, the purpose of this study was to decide how the muscles responsible for humeral motion can best be exercised in a rehabilitation program for the throwing athlete. Dynamic, fine wire, intramuscular electromyography was carried out in 15 normal male volunteers performing 17 shoulder exercises derived from a shoulder rehabilitation program used by professional baseball clubs. The four rotator cuff muscles were studied, as well as other positioners of the humerus, including the pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, and three portions of the deltoid. The electromyographic activity was synchronized with cinematography and averaged over 30 degrees arcs of motion. An exercise was considered to be a significant challenge for a muscle if it generated at least 50% of its predetermined maximum contraction over three consecutive arcs (i.e., a 90 degrees range). Four exercises were consistently found to be among the most challenging exercises for every muscle. These shoulder exercises consisted of 1) elevation in the scapular plane with thumbs down, 2) flexion, 3) horizontal abduction with arms externally rotated, and 4) press-up. This study documents that the minimum for an effective and succinct rehabilitation protocol for the glenohumeral muscles would include these exercises.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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