The athletic shoulder test (ASH) gives information regarding maximal shoulder strength at various long lever positions. If continuously monitored it can give information regarding recovery of muscle function after exercise or the efficacy of rehab after injury. This is a very valuable test for athletes in sports comprising of overhead movements such as cricket, tennis, waterpolo etc. For athletes participating in contact sports, this test may also prove valuable specifically relating to the rate of force development as this gives an indication of the period of time necessary in order to stabilise the shoulder joint prior to impact.
What does the test involve?
This test is completed on a force plate in order to measure the isometric force production of your two arms. You will be asked to lie facing the ground with one of your hands on the force plate. You will be asked to position your hand on the treadmill in three specified position as indicated in the photos below. You will then be asked to push down with your hand as hard as possible for 20 seconds during which time the forces you produce will be measured.
Above: Representation of the ASH protocol and the different positions at which the maximal isometric force is produced.
What will you get?
You will receive a report that indicates the rate of force development and maximal isometric force in each of the three positions. The report will also indicate the symmetry between the left and right shoulder.
Above: Example of the results reported in the ASH test
If you were to come for retesting, we will also give you an indication of the comparison between the two testing sessions. Therefore, it is possible to distinguish change over time related to either training adaptation, muscular fatigue, or injury related changes in these results.
How long will it take?
This is a very short test. If you come to the laboratory after already completing your own warm up session the testing should take between 5 and 10 minutes. If a group/team comes for testing, between 20 and 25 athletes can be tested within an hour.
What should you do/bring?
You will need to bring comfortable training clothes and shoes. Furthermore it is suggested that you do not participate in any strenuous training 24 hours prior to the test, unless the goal of the testing is to determine the muscular fatigue induced by the training session. We also suggest that you complete a warm up session prior to arriving at the lab in order to obtain the maximal performance during this test session.
ASHWORTH, B., et al. (2018). The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) test: reliability of a novel upper body isometric strength test in elite rugby players. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 4
ASHWORTH, B., & COHEN, D.D., (2019) Force awakens: a new hope for athletic shoulder strength testing. Br J Sports Med 53(9):524-525