Long-axis rotation: the missing link in proximal-to-distal segmental sequencing

J Sports Sci. 2000 Apr;18(4):247-54. doi: 10.1080/026404100364983.


Most assessments of segmental sequencing in throwing, striking or kicking have indicated a proximal-to-distal sequencing of end-point linear speeds, joint angular velocities, segment angular velocities and resultant joint moments. However, the role of long-axis rotations has not been adequately quantified and located in the proximal-to-distal sequence. The timing and importance of upper arm internal-external rotation and pronation-supination in the development of racquet head speed have been examined in the tennis serve and squash forehand drive and considered in relation to conventional concepts of proximal-to-distal sequencing. Both long-axis rotations reached their peak angular speeds late in both strokes, typically after shoulder flexion-extension, shoulder abduction-adduction and elbow extension. These results clarify and confirm the importance of upper limb long-axis rotations in the production of racquet head speed. It appears that traditional proximal-to-distal sequencing concepts are inadequate to describe accurately the complexity of the tennis serve or squash forehand drive. It is essential to consider upper arm and forearm longitudinal axis rotations in explaining the mechanics of these movements and in developing coaching emphases, strength training schedules and injury prevention programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm / anatomy & histology
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pronation / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology
  • Supination / physiology*
  • Tennis / physiology*