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Effect of Stretching and Strengthening Shoulder Muscles on Forward Shoulder Posture in Competitive Swimmers

Mark Kluemper, Tim Uhl, and Heath Hazelrigg

Context:

Imbalanced shoulder muscles might cause poor posture in swimmers, which has been implicated as potential cause of injury.

Objective:

To determine whether a training program can reduce forward shoulder posture.

Design:

Prospective pseudorandomized.

Setting:

College swimming pool.

Participants:

39 competitive swimmers (age 16 ± 2 years) divided into an exercise group (n = 24) and a control group (n = 15).

Intervention:

The experimental group performed a partner-stretching program on the anterior shoulder muscles and a strengthening regimen focusing on the posterior shoulder muscles for 6 weeks. The control group participated in normal swim-training activities.

Main Outcome Measures:

Shoulder posture was measured as the distance from the anterior acromion to a wall using a double-square method.

Results:

The experimental group significantly reduced the distance of the acromion from the wall in a resting posture (–9.6 ± 7.3 mm) as compared with the control group (–2.0 ± 6.9 mm).

Conclusions:

A training routine might reduce the forward shoulder posture present in most competitive swimmers.