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Does supraspinatus initiate shoulder abduction?

OPEN Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology | 26 Dec 2012

D Reed, I Cathers, M Halaki and K Ginn
Abstract
PURPOSE: It is commonly stated that supraspinatus initiates abduction; however, there is no direct evidence to support this claim. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to determine whether supraspinatus initiates shoulder abduction by activating prior to movement and significantly earlier than other shoulder muscles and to determine if load or plane of movement influenced the recruitment timing of supraspinatus. METHODS: Electromyographic recordings were taken from seven shoulder muscles of fourteen volunteers during shoulder abduction in the coronal and scapular planes and a plane 30° anterior to the scapular plane, at 25%, 50% and 75% of maximum load. Initial activation timing of a muscle was determined as the time at which the average activation (over a 25ms moving window) was greater than three standard deviations above baseline measures. RESULTS: All muscles tested were activated prior to movement onset. Subscapularis was activated significantly later than supraspinatus, infraspinatus, deltoid and upper trapezius, while supraspinatus, infraspinatus, upper trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior and deltoid all had similar initial activation times. The effects of load or plane of movement were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Supraspinatus is recruited prior to movement of the humerus into abduction but not earlier than many other shoulder muscles, including infraspinatus, deltoid and axioscapular muscles. The common statement that supraspinatus initiates abduction is therefore, misleading.
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Concepts
Serratus anterior muscle, Humerus, Scapula, Muscles of the upper limb, Supraspinatus muscle, Rotator cuff, Deltoid muscle, Shoulder
MeSH headings
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