Clinical methods to quantify trunk mobility in an elite male surfing population

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Physical Therapy in Sport


Churchill Livingstone


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Furness, J., Climstein, M., Sheppard, J. M., Abbott, A., & Hing, W. (2016). Clinical methods to quantify trunk mobility in an elite male surfing population. Physical Therapy in Sport, 19, 28-35. Available here


Background: Thoracic mobility in the sagittal and horizontal planes are key requirements in the sport of surfing; however to date the normal values of these movements have not yet been quantified in a surfing population. Objectives: To develop a reliable method to quantify thoracic mobility in the sagittal plane; to assess the reliability of an existing thoracic rotation method, and quantify thoracic mobility in an elite male surfing population. Design: Clinical Measurement, reliability and comparative study. Methods: A total of 30 subjects were used to determine the reliability component. 15 elite surfers were used as part of a comparative analysis with age and gender matched controls. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient values ranged between 0.95-0.99 (95% CI; 0.89-0.99) for both thoracic methods. The elite surfing group had significantly (p ≤ 0.05) greater rotation than the comparative group (mean rotation 63.57° versus 40.80°, respectively). Conclusion: This study has illustrated reliable methods to assess the thoracic spine in the sagittal plane and thoracic rotation. It has also quantified ROM in a surfing cohort; identifying thoracic rotation as a key movement. This information may provide clinicians, coaches and athletic trainers with imperative information regarding the importance of maintaining adequate thoracic rotation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.



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