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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Kinesiology

Advisor(s)

Kent Todd

Abstract

Abstract Forward shoulder posture in the repetitive overhead athlete has been isolated as a possible predisposition for injury. Shoulder strengthening and stretching programs have displayed benefits for overhead athletes such as swimmers to decrease risk of impingement, labral issues, and other shoulder pathology. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of strengthening exercises on forward shoulder posture in female overhead athletes. Thirty-one Division I female collegiate competitive swimmers were divided into 3 groups: control, strengthening, and combination of stretching and strengthening. The two intervention groups were assigned a 16 session strength-only or a combined strength and stretching protocol to complete over an 8-week period of time. Measurements of resting and adjusted shoulder posture, strength, and flexibility were taken pre- and post- intervention. Subjects had an average age of 19.56 ± 1.01 years, height of 168.10 ± 5.05 centimeters, and weighing 66.31 ± 6.71 kilograms. The total swimming volume for the duration of the study averaged 332.657 ± 24,595 meters or 41,582 ± 3,074 meters/week among all the participants and there were no significant volume differences between the groups. Data analysis revealed no significant interactions between the groups for resting (control pre-205.7 ± 48.2, control post- 254.9 ± 22.3; strength pre- 183.9 ± 33.2, strength post- 254.5 ± 28.0; combination stretching/strengthening pre- 185.0 ± 39.9, combination stretching/strengthening post- 255.2 ± 21.8) or adjusted shoulder posture(control pre- 22.1 ± 28.1, control post-51.7 ± 21.3 ; strength pre- 7.4 ± 25.7, strength post- 59.4 ± 13.2; combination stretching/strengthening pre- 9.0 ± 23.8, combination stretching/strengthening post- 55.5 ± 18.7). The strength group improved strength (p=0.001), while the combination strength and stretching group improved flexibility (p=0.006). The intervention of shoulder stretching and strengthening programs is useful for shoulder maintenance/stability and overall joint mechanics, but may not be enough to overcome the volume of swim training or outside weight lifting adaptations. Given discrepancies between the results found in the present study and results reported by others, more research is warranted to investigate the effects of strengthening and stretching exercises on forward shoulder posture in repetitive overhead athletes.

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