Objectives: To examine the correction of posture, increase in strength and decrease in shoulder pain and dysfunction in varsity swimmers.
Design and setting: Randomised clinical trial.
Participants: Twenty-eight National Collegiate Athletic Association division I varsity swimmers.
Measurements: Two testing sessions were conducted before and after an 8-week time period. Posture, strength and shoulder pain and function were assessed. Forward head angle was measured using a digital inclinometer, forward head translation was measured using a ruler and total scapular distance was measured with unmarked string. Average and peak values (N) of strength were measured with the hand-held dynamometer. The intervention subjects then participated in an 8-week exercise training programme to correct posture. The procedures were then repeated in the post-test.
Results: Significant group by time interactions (p<0.05) were found in forward head angle and forward shoulder translation indicating a decrease in forward head angle and forward shoulder translation. Significant main effects for time (p<0.05) were found in strength measures for all muscle groups indicating increased strength for shoulder girdle muscles tested.
Conclusions: The exercise intervention was successful at decreasing forward head and rounded shoulder postures in elite swimmers. This study supports the theoretical basis for clinical rehabilitation of posture and the shoulder.