Use of shoulder flexors to achieve isometric elbow extension in C6 tetraplegic patients during weight shift


The anterior deltoid muscle has been found to be active during elbow extension in normal volunteers and in C6 tetraplegic patients lacking a functional triceps. Using surface electromyography (EMG) on normal volunteers and on patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) at the C6 motor level, we evaluated whether the anterior deltoid and biceps brachii muscles are active during closed chain elbow extension in a simulated weight shift position. Thirteen normal volunteers performed isometric contractions at 5 submaximal levels of force ranging from 4 – 25 kg. Six SCI patients performed isometric contractions at force levels of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Surface EMG over the right biceps, triceps, and anterior deltoid muscles was recorded for each participant and the root mean square (rms) electromyographic activity level for each muscle was determined at each level of force. Statistical analyses using repeated ANOVA with Tukey HSD post-hoc tests were performed for each level of force. The results indicated increasing rms activity of the triceps and anterior deltoid muscles with increasing force in normal volunteers to a significant degree (P<0.05). SCI patients showed significant increasing activity of the anterior deltoid with increasing force, but showed minimal triceps rms activity. In both groups, the biceps showed minimal rms activity. SCI patients exhibited significantly greater rms activity of the anterior deltoid at low force compared with normal volunteers. The results suggest that the anterior deltoid aids in isometric elbow extension during a simulated weight shift maneuver.

DOI: 10.1038/

Cite this paper

@article{Gefen1997UseOS, title={Use of shoulder flexors to achieve isometric elbow extension in C6 tetraplegic patients during weight shift}, author={Jonathan Y Gefen and A S Gelmann and Gerald J. Herbison and Michelle E Cohen and Richard R Schmidt}, journal={Spinal Cord}, year={1997}, volume={35}, pages={308-313} }