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Corbin A. Hedt, S. Brett Holland, Bradley S. Lambert, Joshua D. Harris, and Patrick C. McCulloch

Context: Interval throwing programs (ITPs) have long been used in the physical therapy setting to aid in the safe and efficacious return to sport for an overhead athlete. However, the overall utilization and variation of ITPs are unknown in the physical therapy setting leading to potential inconsistencies in treatment paradigms. Objective: To determine if differences in practice patterns exist among active physical therapists of various experience levels with regard to years of experience and advanced certifications. Design: Cross-sectional survey study. Participants: A total of 133 licensed physical therapists consented to participate in an online-based survey. Experience groups were delineated based on years of practice (0–1, 1–5, 6–15, and 15+) and possession of advanced certification. Main Outcome Measures: For ranking-based data, a generalized linear mixed model was repeated across criteria response with a Bonferroni post hoc adjustment for pairwise comparisons made within and between groups (α < .05). For degree-based questions, chi-square analysis was used to compare response frequencies for options provided within each question. Results: A 76.7% response rate was achieved with 102 out of the 133 consenting individuals completed the survey. Significant differences (P < .05) were found with responses to both ranking-based and degree-based questions. However, across all groups, physical therapists agreed that throwing mechanics and customized ITP implementation were important for a successful return to throwing. Conclusions: There are inherent differences in ITP prescription among physical therapists with dissimilar experience levels. The possession of advanced certifications and years of practice seem to play a role in how interval programs are prescribed to overhead-throwing athletes. This study helps to identify differences in current physical therapy approaches toward the later stages of rehabilitation for throwing athletes. Further research should identify areas of improvement in physical therapist education as well as appropriate ITP prescription parameters to optimize care and treatment for this patient population.

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Corbin Hedt, Bradley S. Lambert, Matthew L. Holland, Joshua Daum, Jeremiah Randall, David M. Lintner, and Patrick C. McCulloch

Context: Shoulder rehabilitation can be a difficult task due to the dynamic nature of the joint complex. Various weight training implements, including kettlebells (KB), have been utilized for therapeutic exercise in the rehabilitation setting to improve shoulder girdle strength and motor control. The KBs are unique in that they provide an unstable load and have been purported to promote greater muscle activation versus standard dumbbells. Recent literature has examined the efficacy of KB exercises for global strengthening and aerobic capacity; however, electromyographic data for shoulder-specific activities are lacking. Objective: To examine muscle activation patterns about the rotator cuff and scapular musculature during 5 commonly-utilized KB exercises. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of a single group. Setting: Clinical biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Ten participants performed all exercises in a randomized order. Main Outcome Measures: Mean electromyographic values for each subject were compared between exercises for each target muscle. Results: Significant differences (P < .05) between exercises were observed for all target muscles except for the infraspinatus. Conclusions: The data in this study indicates that certain KB exercises may elicit activation of the shoulder girdle at different capacities. Physical therapy practitioners, athletic trainers, and other clinical professionals who intend to optimize localized strengthening responses may elect to prescribe certain exercises over others due to the inherent difference in muscular utilization. Ultimately, this data may serve to guide or prioritize exercise selection to achieve higher levels of efficacy for shoulder strength and stability gains.