Effects of posture, movement and hand load on shoulder muscle activity
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The influence of external factors such as arm posture, hand loading and dynamic exertion on shoulder muscle activity is needed to provide insight into the relationship between internal and external loading of the shoulder joint. Surface electromyography was collected from 8 upper extremity muscles on 16 participants who performed isometric and dynamic shoulder exertions in three shoulder planes (flexion, mid-abduction and abduction) covering four shoulder elevation angles (30 degrees , 60 degrees , 90 degrees and 120 degrees). Shoulder exertions were performed under three hand load conditions: no load, holding a 0.5 kg load and 30% grip. It was found that adding a 0.5 kg load to the hand increased shoulder muscle activity by 4% maximum voluntary excitation (MVE), across all postures and velocities. Performing a simultaneous shoulder exertion and hand grip led to posture specific redistribution of shoulder muscle activity that was consistent for both isometric and dynamic exertions. When gripping, anterior and middle deltoid activity decreased by 2% MVE, while posterior deltoid, infraspinatus and trapezius activity increased by 2% MVE and biceps brachii activity increased by 6% MVE. Increased biceps brachii activity with gripping may be an initiating factor for the changes in shoulder muscle activity. The finding that hand gripping altered muscle activation, and thus the internal loading, of the shoulder may play an important role in shoulder injury development and rehabilitation.