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Vol. 22. Num. 3.01 May 2018
Pages 175-254
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Vol. 22. Num. 3.01 May 2018
Pages 175-254
Original Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.01.001
Changes in shoulder girdle strength in 3 consecutive years in elite adolescent swimmers: a longitudinal cohort study
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Fernanda A.P. Habechiana,b,
Corresponding author
fernanda.aph@gmail.com

Corresponding author at: Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Catolica del Maule, Casa Central: Avda. San Miguel 3605, Talca, Chile.
, Kim Van Malderenc, Paula R. Camargoa, Ann M. Coolsd
a Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), Department of Physical Therapy, São Carlos, SP, Brazil
b Universidad Católica del Maule, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Kinesiology, Talca, Chile
c Flemish Swimming Federation, Antwerp, Belgium
d Ghent University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent, Belgium
Highlights

  • Strength of the shoulder muscles decreased along 3 years of practice in young swimmers.

  • Decreased ER/IR strength ratio was also observed.

  • Shoulder muscle balance in young swimmers deserves a special attention, in order to understand the influence of the swimming practice in these muscles strength.

  • Gender should be taken into account when performing preventive or rehabilitation protocols for young swimmers.

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Figures (1)
Tables (4)
Table 1. Characteristics of the participants per year.
Table 2. Boys’ shoulder girdle muscle strength.
Table 3. Girls’ shoulder girdle muscle strength.
Table 4. External rotation/internal rotation strength ratio (ER/IR).
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Abstract
Background

The shoulder complex is highly loaded during swimming. No studies were found analyzing the changes in shoulder girdle strength in young swimmers, through the years.

Objective

To analyze the changes in strength of internal rotators and external rotators of the arm, lower trapezius and supraspinatus and in the external rotators/internal rotators ratio in young elite swimmers through 3 years.

Methods

31 adolescent elite swimmers (14–18 years, of both sexes) participated in the study. Isometric strength of the shoulder girdle muscles was performed using a handheld dynamometer during 3 years.

Results

For boys absolute data, internal rotators increased from the first to the second (p=0.0001; mean difference 45.6N; 95%CI 26.7–65.0) and third years (p=0.01; mean difference: 32.4; 95%CI: 9.3–55.5). Considering the weight-normalized data, internal rotators increased from the first to the second year (p<0.0001; mean difference: 0.52; 95%CI: 0.26–0.78), external rotators decreased from the first to the third year (p=0.003; mean difference: −0.33; 95%CI: −0.53 to −0.13) and from the second to the third year (p=0.0004; mean difference: −0.29; 95%CI: −0.46 to −0.12) and supraspinatus decreased from the second to the third year (p=0.006; mean difference: −0.17; 95%CI: −0.28 to −0.06). For girls, there were no significant differences in the absolute strength. Considering the weight-normalized data, lower trapezius decreased from the first to the third year (p=0.02; mean difference: −0.15; 95%CI: −0.27 to 0.03). Considering both sexes, the external rotators/internal rotators ratio decreased from the first to the second (p<0.0001; mean difference −0.12N; 95%CI −0.13 to −0.11) and third years (p<0.0001; mean difference −0.15N; 95%CI −0.16 to −0.14).

Conclusion

Muscle imbalance can occur in the shoulder girdle in young swimmers in 3 years, with increased internal rotators and decreased external rotators and supraspinatus strength in boys, and decreased strength of the lower trapezius in girls. Attention should be given in young swimmers’ shoulder girdle muscle balance.

Keywords:
Handheld dynamometer
Strength measurement
Young athletes

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