Cullun Q. Watts, George J. Davies, Bryan L. Riemann. Georgia Southern University-Armstrong, Savannah, GA.

BACKGROUND: While shoulder range of motion (ROM) has been studied in various overhead athletes, there is a dearth of studies examining Olympic weightlifters, despite the quantity of shoulder ROM needed to perform the two Olympic lifts. Thus, the purpose was to examine shoulder external rotation (ER), isolated internal rotation (IIR) and total arc of motion (TAOM) with regards to bilateral symmetry and normative data in Masters Olympic weightlifters. METHODS: Men (n= 27, 35-76yrs) and woman (n=21, 35-69yrs) competitors from the 2017 National Masters Championship volunteered for bilateral active shoulder goniometric ROM assessment. Measurements were taken supine with the test arm in 90° elbow flexion and 90° shoulder abduction. Participants actively rotated their shoulder until scapular motion was initiated at which point the measurement was taken. Three trials were taken for both directions on both the dominant and nondominant limbs and the average was used for data analysis. Rotation direction and limb order was randomized between participants. TAOM was computed as the sum of IIR and ER. Additionally, the difference between each participant’s ROM and age-matched normative data was computed. RESULTS: Post hoc analysis of a IIR limb by sex interaction (P=.022) IIR revealed the nondominant shoulder to have significantly greater ROM for both the men (P<.001, d=.98, 11.2±14.1° and women (P<.001, d=1.3, 19.3±7.9°), with the difference for the women to be statistically greater (P=.022, d=.69) than the men. Frequency analysis yielded 81.0% of the women and 85.2% of the men demonstrated greater nondominant IIR ROM compared to dominant. Additionally, the dominant limb for the men (66.4±10.5°) was significantly greater (P=.018, d=.70) than the women (57.7±14.0°). There were no significant limb or sex differences (P≥.209) between for ER. TAOM was significantly greater (P<.005, d=.81) for the nondominant (156.9±21.5°) compared to dominant (139.3±20.9°) shoulder. When compared to the normative data, across both sexes, the dominant shoulder demonstrated significantly less ER (P=.002, d=.47) and the nondominant demonstrated greater IIR (P<.001, d=-1.1) ROM. CONCLUSION: Based on the bilateral nature of Olympic weightlifting, the bilateral IR asymmetry was an unexpected finding and warrants further investigation to determine potential explanations, as well as confirm existence in an additional cohort.

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