Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2011 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 > Scapular Muscle Activity in Overhead and Nonoverhead Athlete...
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31822179e8
Original Research

Scapular Muscle Activity in Overhead and Nonoverhead Athletes During Closed Chain Exercises

Tucker, W Steven PhD, ATC; Bruenger, Adam J PhD, CSCS; Doster, Carrie M MS, ATC; Hoffmeyer, Donna R MSS, BSN, ACSM-HFS

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Abstract

Objective: To compare scapular muscle activity in healthy overhead and nonoverhead athletes.

Design: One between (group) and 1 within (exercise) repeated measures.

Setting: Controlled laboratory environment.

Participants: Fifteen overhead sport athletes (10 women and 5 men) and 15 nonoverhead sport athletes (10 women and 5 men).

Interventions: Subjects completed 5 individual trials of a Cuff Link, standard push-up, and supine pull-up while surface electromyography (EMG) recorded muscle activity of 4 scapular muscles on the throwing dominant side. Mean EMG data were normalized to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction.

Main Outcome Measures: Normalized mean EMG.

Results: The upper trapezius was significantly more active (F2,56 = 70.118; P < 0.001) during supine pull-up (61.57 ± 29.67%) than during push-up (27.89 ± 16.21%) and Cuff Link (5.50 ± 2.94%). The middle trapezius was significantly more active (F2,56 = 134.192; P < 0.001) during supine pull-up (62.89 ± 24.17%) than during push-up (21.12 ± 13.10%) and Cuff Link (6.59 ± 4.81%). The lower trapezius was significantly more active (F2,56 = 41.326; P < 0.001) during supine pull-up (60.47 ± 34.80%) than during push-up (34.80 ± 30.81%) and Cuff Link (9.67 ± 4.34%). For upper trapezius, middle trapezius, and lower trapezius, the levels of activation during push-up were significantly greater compared with those during Cuff Link. The serratus anterior was significantly more active (F2,56 = 25.652; P < 0.001) during push-up (49.97 ± 18.86%) and Cuff Link (43.81 ± 19.70%) than during supine pull-up (25.52 ± 19.80%). There were no significant influences of group on muscle activation.

Conclusions: Overhead and nonoverhead athletes elicited similar levels of muscle activation. Differences in muscle activation existed within the 3 exercises. Clinicians should consider the muscle of interest when prescribing one of these exercises.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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