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Am J Sports Med. 1989 Mar-Apr;17(2):241-7.

Electromyographic analysis of elbow function in tennis players.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, Inglewood, California 90307.


Muscle activity about the elbow during tennis strokes in nine professional and collegiate level players was studied using indwelling EMG and high speed photography. Eight muscles were evaluated for the serve, forehand, and backhand strokes. The serve was divided into six stages and the ground strokes into four stages. EMG tracings were subjected to analog-to-digital conversion and a relative measure of quantity was obtained. Analysis of variance and Turkey tests were then done to assess statistical significance (P less than 0.05). The ground strokes showed low activity in all muscles tested during the preparation phase. During the acceleration phase, both the backhand and forehand showed a generalized increase in all muscle activity. Both strokes showed marked activity of the wrist extensors and, in addition, the forehand showed high activity in the brachialis and biceps. In the follow-through phase, there was a generalized decrease in muscle activity. The serve showed low activity in all muscles tested during the wind-up phase. The wrist extensors increased their activity in the cooking phase, with marked activity in late cooking. The pronator teres and the triceps showed increased activity in the acceleration phase. Follow-through phase showed low muscle activity except for the biceps, which increased in late follow-through. In conclusion, the muscles of the elbow help stabilize the elbow as a unit during the ground strokes in these high level players. Power in the serve comes from increased activity in the triceps and pronator teres. The predominant activity of the wrist extensors in all strokes may be one explanation for predisposition to injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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