Scapulohumeral kinematic assessment of the forward kayak stroke in experienced whitewater kayakers

Craig A. Wassinger, Joseph B. Myers, Timothy C. Sell, Sakiko Oyama, Elaine N. Rubenstein, Scott M. Lephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


By understanding the normal humeral and scapular kinematics during the kayak stroke, inferences about the relationship of kayaking technique and shoulder injury may be established. The purpose of this study was to describe scapular and humeral kinematics and to compare dominant versus non-dominant symmetry in healthy whitewater kayakers performing the forward stroke. Twenty-five competent whitewater kayakers (mean age: 34.1±9.4 years, mean height: 1.768±0.093 m, mean mass: 78.2±13.0 kg) underwent humeral and scapular kinematic assessment, using an electromagnetic tracking device, while kayaking on a kayak ergometer. Paired t-tests were used to determine symmetry. Scapular and humeral kinematic means and standard deviations at six time points during the kayak stroke were described. Scapular and humeral kinematics were shown to be similar upon bilateral comparison. The greatest potential for injury during the forward stroke may be at thrust paddle shaft vertical when the humerus is maximally elevated in internal rotation and adduction as subacromial structures may be mechanically impinged. The relationship between scapulohumeral kinematics related to injury at other time points are also described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-109
Number of pages12
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was completed at the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh as part of Craig Wassinger’s doctoral work. The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Takashi Nagai, Dr. Kenneth Learman, and Hung-Chun Huang and the other research assistants within the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory for their assistance with data collection. Funding for this project was provided by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Research Development Fund and the Freddie H. Fu Graduate Research Award. The authors would also like to acknowledge Vasa Inc. for donating the Vasa Kayak Ergometer for the study.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Kinematic analysis
  • Scapula
  • Shoulder injury
  • Whitewater kayak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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