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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1992 Jan;1(1):15-25. doi: 10.1016/S1058-2746(09)80011-6. Epub 2009 Feb 2.

An electromyographic analysis of the upper extremity in pitching.

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From the Biomechanics Laboratory, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, Inglewood, Calif.


The upper extremity is vulnerable to injury during the baseball pitch because of the repetitious nature of the action, the extremes in range of motion, and the high angular velocities and torques generated at the shoulder and elbow. Hence this study was designed to describe the muscle-firing patterns through fine-wire electromyography in 29 muscle bellies in the upper extremities of skilled pitchers during the fastball pitch. The results demonstrated that the muscles functioned with precise timing for joint stabilization to prevent injury, joint activation to transfer forces to the ball, and joint deceleration to dissipate forces after ball release. The synchrony of reciprocal and sequential muscle contraction necessary to accomplish these functions was clearly evident. This study provides a better understanding of the coordinated sequence of muscle activity during the throwing motion; this understanding is crucial to the development of exercise protocols and surgical procedures used for treatment and prevention of shoulder and elbow injuries in the throwing athlete.

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