Context: Tennis playing generates specific adaptations, particularly at the dominant shoulder. It remains to be established whether shoulder-strength balance can be restored by sling-based training for adolescent recreational tennis players. Objective: To investigate the effects of a sling-based exercise for shoulder external rotators on external rotator muscle strength, internal rotator muscle strength, glenohumeral range of motion, and tennis serve performance. Design: Test-retest design. Setting: Tennis training sports facilities. Participants: Twelve adolescent male players volunteered to participate in this study (age: 13.3 ± 0.5 y; height: 1.64 ± 0.07 m, mass: 51.7 ± 5.8 kg, International Tennis Number: 8). Intervention: The procedure spanned 10 wk. For the first 5 wk, players performed their regular training (RT) twice a week. For the last 5 wk, a sling-based exercise (SE) for strengthening the shoulder external rotator muscles was added to their RT. Main Outcome Measures: Maximal isometric strength of shoulder external and internal rotator muscles and glenohumeral range of motion in external and internal rotation were assessed in both shoulders. Serve performance was also evaluated by accuracy and postimpact ball velocity using a radar gun. Results: No change was found in any measurement after the RT period. Significant increases in external (∼+5%; P < .001) and internal (∼+2%; P < .05) rotator muscle strength and in external/internal strength ratio (∼+4%; P < .001) were observed after the SE period. Serve velocity and accuracy were significantly improved after SE (∼+2% and ∼+24%, respectively; P < .05 for both), while no clinically meaningful alterations in range of motion were observed. Conclusions: Prophylactic intervention through SE for strengthening shoulder external rotator muscles appears effective in restoring strength balance at the dominant shoulder and may prevent adolescent tennis players from sustaining degenerative shoulder problems, which could later impair their performance of daily and work-related tasks.
Charles Goulet and Isabelle Rogowski
Isabelle Rogowski, David Rouffet, Frédéric Lambalot, Olivier Brosseau and Christophe Hautier
This study compared EMG activity of young tennis players’ muscles during forehand drives in two groups, GD—those able to raise by more than 150% the vertical velocity of racket-face at impact from flat to topspin forehand drives, and GND, those not able to increase their vertical velocity to the same extent. Upper limb joint angles, racket-face velocities, and average EMGrms values, were studied. At similar joint angles, a fall in horizontal velocity and a rise in racket-face vertical velocity from flat to topspin forehand drives were observed. Shoulder muscle activity rose from flat to topspin forehand drives in GND, but not for drives in GD. Forearm muscle activity reduced from flat to topspin forehand drives in GD, but muscle activation was similar in GND. The results show that radial deviation increased racket-face vertical velocity more at impact from the flat to topspin forehand drives than shoulder abduction.
Julien Le Gal, Mickael Begon, Benoit Gillet and Isabelle Rogowski
Context: Tennis induces a decreased internal rotation range of motion at the dominant glenohumeral joint. The effects of self-myofascial release have not yet been investigated to restore glenohumeral range of motion. Objective: This study aimed at investigating the effects of self-myofascial release on shoulder function and perception in adolescent tennis players. Design: Test–retest design. Setting: Tennis training sport facilities. Participants: Eleven male players participated in this study (age: 15  y; height: 173.1 [11.1] cm; mass: 56.0 [15.1] kg; International Tennis Number: 3). Intervention: During 5 weeks, the players performed their regular tennis training. During 5 additional weeks, self-myofascial release of the infraspinatus and pectoralis muscles was implemented 3 times per week after the warm-up of the regular training session. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was glenohumeral internal rotation range of motion. The secondary outcomes were perceived shoulder instability and tennis serve accuracy and velocity. Results: Adding self-myofascial release allowed an increase of 11° (2°) of internal rotation range of motion at the dominant glenohumeral joint (P < .001) and a decreased perception of shoulder instability (P = .03), while maintaining tennis serve velocity and accuracy. Conclusions: Implementing self-myofascial release on infraspinatus and pectoralis muscles 3 times per week during 5 weeks improved dominant glenohumeral internal rotation range of motion in tennis players. It can be used as a strategy to preserve the mobility of this joint.
Isabelle Rogowski, Gaële Ducher, Olivier Brosseau and Christophe Hautier
This study aimed at demonstrating the asymmetry in volume between the dominant and nondominant upper limbs in tennis players, controlled for maturity status. Upper limb volumes on both sides were calculated in 72 tennis players and 84 control subjects, using the truncated cone method. The participants’ maturity status was determined using the predicted age at peak height velocity (PHV). The results showed significant larger side-to-side asymmetry in volume in tennis groups than in control groups. These findings suggested that, even before PHV, specific-sport adaptations occurred in the dominant upper limb in tennis players.
Cyril Genevois, Philippe Berthier, Vincent Guidou, Franck Muller, Boris Thiebault and Isabelle Rogowski
In women's handball, the large numbers of throws and passes make the shoulder region vulnerable to overuse injuries. Repetitive throwing motions generate imbalance between shoulder internal- and external-rotator muscles. It has not yet been established whether sling-based training can improve shoulder external-rotator muscle strength.
This study investigated the effectiveness of a 6-wk strengthening program in improving shoulder functional profile in elite female high school handball players.
National elite handball training center.
25 elite female high school handball players.
The program, completed twice per week for 6 wk, included sling-based strengthening exercises using a suspension trainer for external rotation with scapular retraction and scapular retraction alone.
Maximal shoulder external- and internal-rotation strength, shoulder external- and internal-rotation range of motion (ROM), and maximal throwing velocity were assessed preintervention and postintervention for dominant and nondominant sides.
After sling training, external- and internal-rotation strength increased significantly for both sides (P ≤ .001, and P = .004, respectively), with the result that there was no significant change in external- and internal-rotation strength ratios for either the dominant or the nondominant shoulder. No significant differences were observed for external-rotation ROM, while internal-rotation ROM decreased moderately, in particular in the dominant shoulder (P = .005). Maximal throwing velocity remained constant for the dominant arm, whereas a significant increase was found for the nondominant arm (P = .017).
This 6-wk strengthening program was effective in improving shoulder external-rotator muscle strength but resulted in a decrease in the ROM in shoulder internal rotation, while throwing velocity remained stable. Adding a stretching program to this type of sling-based training program might help avoid potential detrimental effects on shoulder ROM.
Isabelle Rogowski, Karine Monteil, Pierre Legreneur and Pierre Lanteri
This study investigated the influence of the covering swimsuit and the fabric surface properties on the butterfly stroke kinematics. Surface properties were evaluated by wetting measurements of two fabric samples: one for training suits and one for competition suits. The surface of the second one was coated by mechanochemical treatment in order to modify its surface properties. Nine national level swimmers performed a 50-m butterfly at submaximal velocity in three swimsuit conditions: conventional, long, and coated long swimsuits. From video recording, the hip was digitized at the entry and exit of the swimmer's hand in order to calculate the duration, hip displacement, and hip linear velocity during underwater and recovery phases and during stroke. The results for wetting show that competition fabric was more water-repellent than training fabric, but both were isotropic. Moreover, the mechanochemical treatment increased water repellency and anisotropy. The swimming results indicated that, when compared to a conventional swimsuit, wearing a coated long swimsuit increased hip linear velocity during stroke, and particularly during the recovery phase which had a shorter duration. These results suggest that the covering swimsuit should be coupled with the water repellent and anisotropic properties of the fabric surface in order to improve swimming performance.