Measuring Eccentric Strength of the Shoulder External Rotators Using a Handheld Dynamometer: Reliability and Validity

J Athl Train. 2015 Jul;50(7):719-25. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.72. Epub 2015 May 14.


Context: Shoulder strength assessment plays an important role in the clinical examination of the shoulder region. Eccentric strength measurements are of special importance in guiding the clinician in injury prevention or return-to-play decisions after injury.

Objective: To examine the absolute and relative reliability and validity of a standardized eccentric strength-measurement protocol for the glenohumeral external rotators.

Design: Descriptive laboratory study.

Setting: Testing environment at the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy of Ghent University, Belgium.

Patients or other participants: Twenty-five healthy participants (9 men and 16 women) without any history of shoulder pain were tested by 2 independent assessors using a handheld dynamometer (HHD) and underwent an isokinetic testing procedure.

Intervention(s): The clinical protocol used an HHD, a DynaPort accelerometer to measure acceleration and angular velocity of testing 30°/s over 90° of range of motion, and a Biodex dynamometer to measure isokinetic activity.

Main outcome measure(s): Three eccentric strength measurements: (1) tester 1 with the HHD, (2) tester 2 with the HHD, and (3) Biodex isokinetic strength measurement.

Results: The intratester reliability was excellent (0.879 and 0.858), whereas the intertester reliability was good, with an intraclass correlation coefficient between testers of 0.714. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients of 0.78 and 0.70 were noted between the HHD and the isokinetic data, showing good validity of this new procedure.

Conclusions: Standardized eccentric rotator cuff strength can be tested and measured in the clinical setting with good-to-excellent reliability and validity using an HHD.

Keywords: eccentric testing; injury prevention; rehabilitation; upper extremity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Observer Variation
  • Random Allocation
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rotation
  • Rotator Cuff / physiology
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Young Adult