Alterations in strength of the shoulder rotators in young elite swimmers

Gustavo Antonio Meliscki, Luciana Zaranza Monteiro, Marco Antonio Furumoto, Guilherme Henrique Ramos Lopes, Estela Cristina Carneseca, Everaldo Encide de Vasconcelos


Introduction: Shoulder muscle strength imbalance is considered a risk factor for shoulder injuries in athletes, especially in sports involving arm movements above the head. Objective: To assess the strength of the external rotators (ER) and internal rotators (IR) of the shoulder in elite swimmers, to determine possible differences between the dominant and non-dominant limbs, and to calculate the shoulder IR/ER ratio. Methods: Fifteen athletes participated in the study from age 20 ± 2 years, mass of 76 ± 4 kg, stature of 1.83 ± 4 cm, and BMI of 22 ± 1 kg/m2. Duration of practice of 10.74 ± 4.03 years; training frequency 5.95 ± 0.22 days/week, 2.07 ± 0.41 hours/day; and weekly number of meters swum 34.905. An isometric dynamometer (Globus Ergo System®, Codognè, Italy) was used to assess ER and IR strength. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation), paired-sample t-test, Pearson´s correlation coefficient and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software (SPSS), version 16.0. Results: IR and ER strength was lower in the left than in the right shoulder of the swimmers (p < 0.05). Additionally, ER strength ratio was higher than IR strength ratio (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The results showed that the swimmers had an alteration of the shoulder ER/IR ratio, especially in the dominant limb.

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