Comparison of scapular muscle activation during shoulder elevation in older and young adults: A pilot study

Taeyeong Kim, Minhee Kim, Minyoung Lee, Bum-Chul Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The prevalence of degenerative shoulder disease is increasing, and most shoulder diseases are accompanied by changed activation of the scapular muscles. However, the characteristics of scapular muscle activation in older adults have not yet been reported. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of age and load on scapular muscle activation during shoulder abduction and flexion. METHODS: Eleven older adults (5 men, 6 women; 71.1 5.3 years) and ten young adults (5 men, 5 women; 25.0 2.7 years) performed shoulder elevation (abduction and flexion) with and without a dumbbell. Electromyography were recorded from the upper, middle and lower trapezius, and serratus anterior muscles in the dominant side. Muscle activation was normalized by reference voluntary contractions. RESULTS: During shoulder elevation with a dumbbell load, the activation of the middle trapezius (p = 0.036) in older adults was significantly higher than that in young adults during abduction. The activation of the upper trapezius (p = 0.001) in older adults was significantly higher than that in young adults during flexion. CONCLUSION: The older adults have a higher activation of the upper and middle trapezius during shoulder elevation with a weighted load.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • aging
  • EMGS
  • Older adults
  • scapular muscle
  • upper trapezius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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