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J Sports Sci. 2018 May;36(9):985-993. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1347697. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

Muscle recruitment patterns of the subscapularis, serratus anterior and other shoulder girdle muscles during isokinetic internal and external rotations.

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a Département de kinésiologie , Université de Montréal , Montréal , Canada.
b Laboratoire de simulation et modélisation du mouvement , Université de Montréal , Laval , Canada.


The aims of this study were to investigate the differences in peak muscle activity and recruitment patterns during high- and low-velocity, concentric and eccentric, internal and external isokinetic shoulder rotations. Electromyographic activity of the rotator cuff and eight superficial muscles of the shoulder girdle was recorded on 25 healthy adults during isokinetic internal and external shoulder rotation at 60°/s and 240°/s. Peak muscle activity, electromyographic envelopes and peak isokinetic moments were analyzed using three-factor ANOVA and statistical parametric mapping. The subscapularis and serratus anterior showed moderate to high peak activity levels during each conditions, while the middle and posterior deltoids, upper, middle and lower trapezius, infraspinatus and supraspinatus showed higher peak activity levels during external rotations (+36.5% of maximum voluntary activation (MVA)). The pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi were more active during internal rotations (+40% of MVA). Only middle trapezius and pectoralis major electromyographic activity decreased with increasing velocity. Peak muscle activity was similar or lower during eccentric contractions, although the peak isokinetic moment increased by 35% on average. The subscapularis and serratus anterior appear to be important stabilizers of the glenohumeral joint and scapula. Isokinetic eccentric training at high velocities may allow for faster recruitment of the shoulder girdle muscles, which could improve joint stability during shoulder internal and external rotations.


Electromyography; isokinetics; rotator cuff; shoulder; subscapularis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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