Background: Serratus anterior strengthening generally appears in shoulder rehabilitation protocols. This study's aim was to measure electromyographic activity of the serratus anterior, upper trapezius, and infraspinatus muscles during the Supine Scapular Punch exercise in healthy volunteers and those with unilateral shoulder pain. Methods: Fifty-four participants were included and grouped as without (n = 34, age = 25.8 years) or with unilateral shoulder pain (n = 20, age = 26.3 years, visual analogue scale = 4.15 cm). Electromyographic activity of the serratus anterior, upper trapezius, and infraspinatus muscles was assessed during Supine Scapular Punch (four phases: P1 = press up concentric, P2 = Supine Scapular Punch concentric, P3 = Supine Scapular Punch eccentric, P4 = press up eccentric) performed under two conditions, with and without additional load. Findings: Overall muscle activity during P1 and P4 was negligible (< 10% maximal voluntary isometric contractions). During P2 and P3, no statistically significant differences in serratus anterior and upper trapezius muscle activity were found between groups, with moderate to high serratus anterior activity (28.94% to 44.3%) and very low upper trapezius activity (< 6%). Upper trapezius/serratus anterior activity ratios ranged from 0.09 to 0.18. Overall infraspinatus muscle activity was always very low (< 10%). Interpretation: The Supine Scapular Punch induces moderate to high serratus anterior muscle activity with very low upper trapezius and infraspinatus activation. Based on these results, the Supine Scapular Punch is a safe exercise that can be used in the early phases of shoulder rehabilitation.
- Exercise therapy
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Shoulder pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine