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55 What do upper-extremity physical performance tests actually measure? Insights from an electromyographical study
  1. Dorien Borms,
  2. Kelly Berckmans,
  3. Amber Lowie,
  4. Dore Lepla,
  5. Liesje Maenhout,
  6. Ann Cools
  1. Ghent University, Campus UZ Gent, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, B3, entrance 46, Belgium


Introduction Physical performance tests (PPTs) focus on multijoint evaluations in which the athlete performs an activity that represents some aspects of athletic function. Evaluating the electromyographical (EMG) demands of those PPTs enables clinicians to select appropriate PPTs for their athletes.

Material and Methods Thirty asymptomatic overhead athletes participated in this descriptive laboratory study. Four PPTs (Y-Balance Test - Upper Quarter (YBT-UQ), Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability Test (CKCUEST), Upper Limb Rotation Test (ULRT) and Shoulder Endurance Test (SET)) were evaluated using surface EMG on both dominant and non-dominant sides to measure muscle activity of upper (UT), middle (MT), and lower (LT) trapezius, serratus anterior (SA), infraspinatus (IS), and posterior deltoid (PD).

Results During YBT-UQ performance on both sides, the supporting hand showed high SA activity levels (range: 51–94%MVIC) during all reach directions while IS was most active when supporting the superolateral reach (range: 92 –129%MVIC). For the reaching hand, SA was most active (range: 46–83%MVIC). During the CKCUEST, all muscles were moderately to highly active, with SA (range: 64 – 87%MVIC) and IS (range: 42 – 85%MVIC) being the most active ones in both moving and supporting hand. Moderate to high activity was recorded for all muscles on both sides during the ULRT. For the SET, muscle activity progressively increased with increasing speed for both dominant and non-dominant performance.

Conclusion Our results provide specific EMG based information which allows clinicians to better understand PPT performance, enhancing selection of appropriate PPTs that match their patients’ needs to return to sport.

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