An Electromyography Study of Muscular Endurance during the Posterior Shoulder Endurance Test

The primary purpose was to determine if there is a difference between the median frequency slopes of 5 posterior shoulder muscles during the initial portion of the Posterior Shoulder Endurance Test (PSET) at the 90⁰ and 135⁰ shoulder abduction positions.

Fifty-five healthy volunteers (31 females) participated. The median frequency of the posterior deltoid (PD), upper trapezius (UT), middle trapezius (MT), lower trapezius (LT), and infraspinatus (INF) was measured during the PSET at 90⁰ and 135⁰ of shoulder abduction. External torque of 13±1 Nm was used for females and 21±1 Nm for males. A fixed effect multi-variable regression model was used to investigate the median frequency slopes. Males and females were analyzed separately.

Median frequency slopes demonstrated fatigue in all 5 of the muscles. The PD fatigued greater than the UT in males (p=0.0215) and greater than the LT in females (p=0.008). The time to task failure (TTF) was greater at 90° than 135° for females and males (p=0.016; p=0.0193) respectively.

The PSET causes fatigue in all of the muscles that were tested, with the PD fatiguing at a greater rate compared to one muscle for each sex. This investigation supports using TTF as a clinical measure of shoulder girdle endurance at 90° shoulder abduction.