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Rehabilitation of scapular muscle balance: which exercises to prescribe?

(2007) AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE. 35(10). p.1744-1751
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Organization
Abstract
Background: Strengthening exercises for the scapular muscles are used in the treatment of scapulothoracic dysfunction related to shoulder injury. In view of the intermuscular and intramuscular imbalances often established in these patients, exercises promoting lower trapezius (LT), middle trapezius (MT), and serratus anterior (SA) activation with minimal activity in the upper trapezius (UT) are recommended. Hypothesis: Of 12 commonly used trapezius strengthening exercises, a selection can be performed for muscle balance rehabilitation, based on a low UT/LT, UT/MT, or UT/SA muscle ratio. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Electromyographic activity of the 3 trapezius parts and the SA was measured in 45 healthy subjects performing 12 commonly described scapular exercises, using surface electromyography. Results: For each intramuscular trapezius ratio (UT/LT, UT/MT), 3 exercises were selected for restoration of muscle balance. The exercises side-lying external rotation, side-lying forward flexion, prone horizontal abduction with external rotation, and prone extension were found to be the most appropriate for intramuscular trapezius muscle balance rehabilitation. For the UT/SA ratio, none of the exercises met the criteria for optimal intermuscular balance restoration. Conclusion: In cases of trapezius muscle imbalance, some exercises are preferable over others because of their low UT/LT and UT/MT ratios. Clinical Relevance: In the selection of rehabilitation exercises, the clinician should have a preference for exercises with high activation of the LT and MT and low activity of the UT.
Keywords
shoulder rehabilitation, scapula, ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS, THROWING SHOULDER, PAINFUL SHOULDER, GLENOHUMERAL INSTABILITY, RECRUITMENT PATTERNS, SERRATUS ANTERIOR, ATHLETIC SHOULDER, SYMPTOMS, KINEMATICS, SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT SYNDROME, electromyography, muscle balance, exercise

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Citation

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Chicago
Cools, Ann, Vincent Dewitte, Frederick Lanszweert, Dries Notebaert, Arne Roets, Barbara Soetens, Barbara Cagnie, and Erik Witvrouw. 2007. “Rehabilitation of Scapular Muscle Balance: Which Exercises to Prescribe?” American Journal of Sports Medicine 35 (10): 1744–1751.
APA
Cools, Ann, Dewitte, V., Lanszweert, F., Notebaert, D., Roets, A., Soetens, B., Cagnie, B., et al. (2007). Rehabilitation of scapular muscle balance: which exercises to prescribe? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE, 35(10), 1744–1751.
Vancouver
1.
Cools A, Dewitte V, Lanszweert F, Notebaert D, Roets A, Soetens B, et al. Rehabilitation of scapular muscle balance: which exercises to prescribe? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE. 2007;35(10):1744–51.
MLA
Cools, Ann, Vincent Dewitte, Frederick Lanszweert, et al. “Rehabilitation of Scapular Muscle Balance: Which Exercises to Prescribe?” AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE 35.10 (2007): 1744–1751. Print.
@article{414324,
  abstract     = {Background: Strengthening exercises for the scapular muscles are used in the treatment of scapulothoracic dysfunction related to shoulder injury. In view of the intermuscular and intramuscular imbalances often established in these patients, exercises promoting lower trapezius (LT), middle trapezius (MT), and serratus anterior (SA) activation with minimal activity in the upper trapezius (UT) are recommended.
Hypothesis: Of 12 commonly used trapezius strengthening exercises, a selection can be performed for muscle balance rehabilitation, based on a low UT/LT, UT/MT, or UT/SA muscle ratio.
Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. 
Methods: Electromyographic activity of the 3 trapezius parts and the SA was measured in 45 healthy subjects performing 12 commonly described scapular exercises, using surface electromyography.
Results: For each intramuscular trapezius ratio (UT/LT, UT/MT), 3 exercises were selected for restoration of muscle balance. The exercises side-lying external rotation, side-lying forward flexion, prone horizontal abduction with external rotation, and prone extension were found to be the most appropriate for intramuscular trapezius muscle balance rehabilitation. For the UT/SA ratio, none of the exercises met the criteria for optimal intermuscular balance restoration.
Conclusion: In cases of trapezius muscle imbalance, some exercises are preferable over others because of their low UT/LT and UT/MT ratios.
Clinical Relevance: In the selection of rehabilitation exercises, the clinician should have a preference for exercises with high activation of the LT and MT and low activity of the UT.},
  author       = {Cools, Ann and Dewitte, Vincent and Lanszweert, Frederick and Notebaert, Dries and Roets, Arne and Soetens, Barbara and Cagnie, Barbara and Witvrouw, Erik},
  issn         = {0363-5465},
  journal      = {AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE},
  keyword      = {shoulder rehabilitation,scapula,ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS,THROWING SHOULDER,PAINFUL SHOULDER,GLENOHUMERAL INSTABILITY,RECRUITMENT PATTERNS,SERRATUS ANTERIOR,ATHLETIC SHOULDER,SYMPTOMS,KINEMATICS,SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT SYNDROME,electromyography,muscle balance,exercise},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {1744--1751},
  title        = {Rehabilitation of scapular muscle balance: which exercises to prescribe?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0363546507303560},
  volume       = {35},
  year         = {2007},
}

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