Shoulder strengthening exercises adapted to specific shoulder pathologies can be selected using new simulation techniques: a pilot study

  • Caecilia CharbonnierEmail author
  • Alexandre Lädermann
  • Bart Kevelham
  • Sylvain Chagué
  • Pierre Hoffmeyer
  • Nicolas Holzer
Original Article



Shoulder strength training exercises represent a major component of rehabilitation protocols designed for conservative or postsurgical management of shoulder pathologies. Numerous methods are described for exercising each shoulder muscle or muscle group. Limited information is available to assess potential deleterious effects of individual methods with respect to specific shoulder pathologies. Thus, the goal of this pilot study was to use a patient-specific 3D measurement technique coupling medical imaging and optical motion capture for evaluation of a set of shoulder strength training exercises regarding glenohumeral, labral and subacromial compression, as well as elongation of the rotator cuff muscles.


One volunteer underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and motion capture of the shoulder. Motion data from the volunteer were recorded during three passive rehabilitation exercises and twenty-nine strengthening exercises targeting eleven of the most frequently trained shoulder muscles or muscle groups and using four different techniques when available. For each exercise, glenohumeral and labral compression, subacromial space height and rotator cuff muscles elongation were measured on the entire range of motion.


Significant differences in glenohumeral, subacromial and labral compressions were observed between sets of exercises targeting individual shoulder muscles. Muscle lengths computed by simulation compared to MRI measurements showed differences of 0–5%.


This study represents the first screening of shoulder strengthening exercises to identify potential deleterious effects on the shoulder joint. Motion capture combined with medical imaging allows for reliable assessment of glenohumeral, labral and subacromial compression, as well as muscle-tendon elongation during shoulder strength training exercises.


Shoulder pathology Strengthening exercises Rehabilitation Kinematics Biomechanics 



We would like to thank Alain Denis Keller, Emilie Paulin, Suzanne Gard, Corinne Bernimoulin-Schmid and Jean-Luc Ziltener for their participation in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving humans

Institutional ethical approval (AMG 12–18) was obtained prior to data collection. All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from the individual participant included in the study.

Supplementary material

11548_2017_1668_MOESM1_ESM.docx (42 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (docx 42 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (mp4 28233 KB)


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Copyright information

© CARS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caecilia Charbonnier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexandre Lädermann
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bart Kevelham
    • 1
  • Sylvain Chagué
    • 1
  • Pierre Hoffmeyer
    • 4
  • Nicolas Holzer
    • 4
  1. 1.Medical Research DepartmentArtanim FoundationMeyrinSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Orthopedics and Trauma SurgeryLa Tour HospitalMeyrinSwitzerland
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Orthopedics and Trauma ServiceUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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