Effect of scapular protraction and retraction on isometric shoulder elevation strength

Jay Smith, Brian R. Kotajarvi, Denny J. Padgett, Joe J. Eischen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the effect ot scapular protraction (SP) and scapular retraction (SR) on isometric shoulder elevation strength measured in the sagittal plane and to test the hypothesis that strength would be significantly reduced when tested in the SP position relative to the neutral resting scapular position (SN). Design: Prospective before-after trial. Setting: Multidisciplinary sports medicine center. Participants: Ten healthy volunteers (5 men, 5 women) ages 26 to 43 years recruited from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Interventions: Subjects completed 3 maximal isometric shoulder elevation contractions at 90° of sagittal plane elevation in the SN, SP, and SR positions. The order of scapular positions was varied to minimize fatigue effects. Mean isometric strength values were compared by using Student t tests. Main Outcome Measures: Isometric shoulder elevation strength for the 3 scapular positions. Results: Isometric strength was significantly lower for the SP position compared with the SN position (8.5 ± 3.4kg vs 11.1 ± 4.0kg, P ≤ .0005) and for the SR position relative to the SN position (7.8 ± 3.3kg vs 11.1 ± 4.0kg, P ≤ .00003). Strength values did not differ between the SP and SR positions (P = .38). Conclusions: Movement of the scapula into a protracted or retracted position results in a statistically significant reduction in isometric shoulder elevation strength as measured in this study. Further research is warranted to examine the relationship between scapular position and shoulder muscle function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-370
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Isometric contraction
  • Posture
  • Rehabilitation
  • Shoulder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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