Context: Muscle force must be normalized for between-subjects comparisons of strength to be valid. The most effective method for normalizing muscle strength has not, however, been systematically evaluated. Objective: To evaluate the effects of normalizing muscle strength using a spectrum of anthropometric parameters. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 50 uninjured highschool-age baseball pitchers. Interventions: Shoulder-rotation strength was tested at 0° and 90° abduction with a handheld dynamometer. Muscle force was normalized to parameters including subject height, weight, height × weight, body-mass index (BMI), forearm length, and forearm length × height. Outcome Measures: Statistical analysis included evaluating the coefficient of variation, skewness, and kurtosis of the nonnormalized and normalized muscle force. The most effective normalization method was determined based on the scaling factor that yielded the lowest variability for the data set and promoted the most normal distribution of the data set. Results: Using body weight to scale muscle force was the most effective anthropometric parameter for normalizing strength values based on the group of statistical measures of variability. BMI, height × weight, and forearm length × weight as scaling factors also yielded less variable values for muscle strength compared with nonnormalized strength, but less consistently than body weight. Height and forearm length were least effective in reducing the variability of the data set relative to nonnormalized muscle force. Conclusion: This study provides objective support for scaling muscle strength to subject body weight. This approach to normalizing muscle strength uses methods readily accessible to clinicians and researchers and may facilitate the identification of differences in strength between individuals with diverse physical characteristics.
- External rotation
- Force normalization
- Internal rotation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation