Neuromuscular and stiffness adaptations in division I collegiate baseball players

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):102-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Aug 13.


To compare bi-lateral shoulder EMG, active and short range glenohumeral stiffness, and examine its correlation to posterior capsule thickness (PCT) in collegiate baseball players. Surface and fine wire EMG was recorded on shoulder and scapular musculature during stiffness testing. Posterior capsule thickness was assessed separately using a diagnostic ultrasound. Serratus anterior EMG area and peak on the dominant arm was significantly greater compared to the non-dominant arm. The dominant arm had significantly greater active and short range glenohumeral stiffness compared to the non-dominant arm. Active glenohumeral stiffness was significantly correlated with PCT, however short range glenohumeral stiffness was not significantly correlated with PCT. Healthy collegiate baseball players present with adaptations of their stiffness regulation strategies. There were also correlations between stiffness and morphologic changes. Our results support the theory that PCT has an impact on the energy absorption capabilities of the shoulder during the deceleration phase of throwing. It also seems that tightening of the series elastic component within the posterior rotator cuff may be causing the increase in short range stiffness on the dominant arm.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Baseball / physiology*
  • Elastic Modulus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*