Isometric Shoulder Strength Reference Values for Physically Active Collegiate Males and Females

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Background: It is common clinical practice to assess muscle strength during examination of patients following shoulder injury or surgery. Strength comparisons are often made between the patient's injured and uninjured shoulders, with the uninjured side used as a reference without regard to upper extremity dominance. Despite the importance of strength measurements, little is known about expected normal baselines of the uninjured shoulder. The purpose of this study was to report normative values for isometric shoulder strength for physically active college-age men and women without history of shoulder injury. Methods: University students-546 males (18.8 ± 1.0 years, 75.3 ± 12.2 kg) and 73 females (18.7 ± 0.9 years, 62.6 ± 7.0 kg)-underwent thorough shoulder evaluations by an orthopaedic surgeon and completed bilateral isometric strength measurements with a handheld dynamometer. Variables measured included internal rotation, external rotation, abduction, supine internal rotation and external rotation at 45°, and prone flexion (lower trapezius). Results: Significant differences were found between the dominant and nondominant shoulder for internal rotation, internal rotation at 45°, abduction, and prone flexion in males and in internal rotation at 45° and prone flexion for females (P = 0.01). © 2013 The Author(s).

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