Experimentally quantifying the feasible torque space of the human shoulder

Emma M. Baillargeon*, Daniel Ludvig, M. Hongchul Sohn, Constantine P. Nicolozakes, Amee L. Seitz, Eric J. Perreault

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Daily tasks rely on our ability to generate multi-dimensional shoulder torques. When function is limited, strength assessments are used to identify impairments and guide treatment. However, these assessments are often one-dimensional and limited in their sensitivity to diagnose shoulder pathology. To address these limitations, we have proposed novel metrics to quantify shoulder torque capacity in all directions. To quantify the feasible torque space of the shoulder, we measured maximal volitional shoulder torques in 32 unique directions and fit an ellipsoid model to these data. This ellipsoid model was used to quantify overall strength magnitude, strength balance, and the directions in which participants were strongest and weakest. We used these metrics to characterize three-dimensional shoulder strength in healthy adults and demonstrated their repeatability across days. Finally, using musculoskeletal simulations, we showed that our proposed metrics can distinguish between changes in muscle strength associated with aging or rotator cuff tears and quantified the influence of altered experimental conditions on this diagnostic capacity. Our results demonstrate that the proposed metrics can robustly quantify the feasible torque space of the shoulder and may provide a clinically useful description of the functional capacity of the shoulder in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102313
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Aging
  • Biomechanics
  • Muscle balance
  • Musculoskeletal simulations
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Three-dimensional strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Biophysics
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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