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2006 Publications

Electromyography of selected shoulder musculature during un-weighted and weighted pendulum exercisesby Abigail A. Ellsworth, DPT, Michael Mullaney, PT, Timothy F. Tyler, PT, ATC, Malachy McHugh, PhD, Stephen J. Nicholas, MD - last modified 2013-02-10 00:00
N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2006 May;1(2):73-79.


Background: Codman's pendulum exercises are commonly prescribed after shoulder surgery and injury to provide grade I and II distraction and oscillation resulting in decreased pain, increased flow of nutrients into the joint space, and early joint mobilization.

Many shoulder protocols suggest that weight may be added to these pendulum exercises as rehabilitation progresses, however, very few guidelines exist to stipulate how much weight should be added.

Objectives: To determine if added weight affected the subject's ability to relax the shoulder musculature during pendulum exercises.

Methods: Twenty-six participants, ages 20 to 56 years old (mean 32.26, +/- 8.51 years) were divided into two groups, nine pathological and 17 non-pathological. The muscle activity (EMG) of four variations of Codman's pendulum exercises 1) wrist suspended 1.5 kg weighted-ball, 2) hand-held 1.5 kg dumbbell, 3) hand-held 1.5 kg weighted-ball, and 4) no weight were recorded in each muscle.

Results: When grouped across all patients and all other factors included in the ANOVA, the type of pendulum exercise did not have a significant effect on shoulder EMG activity regardless of patient population or muscle tested. Generally, the supraspinatus/upper trapezius muscle activity was significantly higher than the deltoid and infra-spinatus activity, especially in the patients with pathological shoulders

Conclusion: Performing the exercises with added weight did not result in significant increased shoulder EMG activity for the deltoid and infraspinatus muscles in subjects with and without shoulder pathology. However, patients with shoulder pathology had greater difficulty relaxing their supaspinatus/upper trapezius muscle group during Codman's pendulum exercises than healthy subjects.