Spinal and Shoulder Girdle Range of Motion in Elite Female Volleyball Athletes

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Introduction. Doing asymmetric sports when one suffers from body asymmetry may cause body posture disorders. The aim of the study was to assess the spinal and shoulder complex mobility of professionally trained volleyball athletes compared to that of their peers who do not practise any sports.

Material and methods. The study involved 60 participants divided into two groups. Group 1 consisted of 30 girls aged 14 years. The average height in the group was 176.37 ± 6.29 cm, and the average body mass was 64.53 ± 7.12 kg. Group 2 consisted of 30 girls aged 15.6 ± 1.12 years who did not practise any sports. The average body height in this group was 159.37 ± 3.33 cm, and the average body mass was 51.83 ± 4.03 kg. The dominant limb was defined on the basis of lateralization. The spinal range of motion was measured by means of a Saunders digital inclinometer, and the shoulder complex range of motion was examined using the goniometric method. Means and standard deviations were calculated, and Student’s t-test was applied in order to determine the differences between the two groups.

Results. The differences in the values obtained in the two groups for the spinal range of motion in the sagittal plane were statistically significant only for the range of lumbar spine bending and extension. It was found that group 1 had a higher range of spine mobility in the frontal and transverse planes, and the differences were statistically significant in all the assessed ranges towards the dominant limb. An analysis of the shoulder girdle range of motion in the groups revealed that the differences were also statistically significant in all of the examined ranges.

Conclusion. Professional volleyball practice can cause an increase in spine flexibility in most of its ranges, and the shoulder girdle range of motion in female volleyball players can exceed population norms, especially for the upper dominant limb.

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