2023 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 58-64
Objective: Generally, low-intensity training is recommended as selective training of the infraspinatus muscle. This study aimed to investigate whether an 8-week intervention of low-intensity, slow-movement, external rotation exercise of the shoulder led to an increase in muscle strength with shoulder external rotation and cross-sectional area (CSA) infraspinatus muscle. Methods: Sixteen healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to the low-intensity and slow-movement (LS) group (N = 8) or the normal-intensity and normal-speed (NN) group (N = 8). The LS and NN groups performed shoulder external rotation exercises with low intensity and slow movement, and normal intensity and normal speed, respectively. The exercise session consisted of three sets of 10 repetitions, which were performed three times per week for 8 weeks. We measured the CSA of the infraspinatus and muscle strength of the shoulder external rotation before and after the 8-week intervention. Results: A significant increase in infraspinatus CSA from baseline to 8 weeks was found in the LS group (7.3% of baseline) but not in the NN group. No significant differences were found in the muscle strength of shoulder external rotation. Conclusion: Our results suggest that low-intensity exercise of the infraspinatus is effective for muscle hypertrophy when performed with slow movement. This finding may help patients who should avoid excessive stress in the early phase of rehabilitation.