Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2015


Background: Prior research has focused on specific interventions to reduce the symptoms of glenohumeral internal rotation deficit (GIRD) and posterior glenohumeral (GH) tightness; however, clinicians often utilize a prone stretching technique instead for which a lack of evidence exists to support the use of. Hypothesis: Improvements in GH Internal rotation (IR) range of motion (ROM) will be greater in a group of overhead athletes using a prone-passive stretching technique than for overhead athletes using a cross-body stretching technique. Design: Randomized and blinded comparative research study Methods: 34 asymptomatic overhead athletes exhibiting ≥ 10˚ of GH IR deficit randomly received either 12 prone-passive (n=17) or cross-body (n=17) stretching treatments for the deficit over a consecutive 28 day period. Measures of IR and externals rotations (ER) for both the dominant and non-dominant shoulders were taken with a modified digital inclinometer before and after participants underwent 12 treatments over a consecutive 28-day period in either the prone-passive or cross-body group. Results: Analysis revealed increased dominant shoulder IR ROM and total motion, whereas IR deficit decreased for both groups, but no group differences. Gain scores for the prone-passive and cross-body respectively: IR ROM (13.23˚ ± 7.78˚, 8.47˚ ± 8.71˚), IR deficit (-12.64˚ ± 11.49˚, -9.13 ± 8.33˚), and total motion (14.81˚ ± 11.27˚, 9.97˚ ± 11.99˚). Conclusion: The prone-passive stretching technique is as effective as the cross-body technique at improving IR ROM, IR deficit, and total motion in the shoulder joint in participants with IR deficit. Clinical Relevance: Accounting for IR deficits in the overhead athlete shoulder is effectively managed through both clinician-assisted and self-stretching techniques. Clinicians treating overhead athletes with greater limitations in IR ROM may find the prone-passive technique advantageous when compared to the cross-body technique.

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This document was originally published by ScholarWorks@BGSU in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. Copyright restrictions may apply. ScholarWorks@BGSU ©2015.

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