June 2016

Gluteal muscle fatigue affects shoulder kinematics during throwing in softball

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Gluteal muscle fatigue is associated with altered upper extremity kinematics in collegiate softball players, according to findings from the University of Auburn in Alabama that add to the body of research supporting the importance of the lower body in throwing athletes.

Investigators analyzed the upper extremity throwing kinematics of 10 collegiate softball players before and after a gluteal fatigue protocol on three consecutive days (to simulate the effects of tournament play).

Shoulder elevation during a 60-foot throw was significantly lower after the fatigue protocol than before, and on the second and third days compared with the first day. Measures of scapular anterior/posterior tilt and scapular up/down rotation also differed significantly from pre­fatigue to postfatigue.

“Most of the time the athletes felt pretty good after the fatigue protocol and felt like they had recovered, but their motor function was only about eighty percent,” said Sarah S. Gascon, MS, a doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology at the university, who presented the findings in early June at the ACSM annual meeting in Boston.


Gascon SS, Washington JK, Rhoads JA, et al. Effects of gluteal fatigue on shoulder and scapula kinematics among NCAA Division I softball athletes. Presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Boston, June 2016.

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