As physios, assessing muscle function in our clients is one of our biggest tools for determining tissue source like contractile vs non-contractile tissues, extent of pathology like myotome screening, or muscle weakness. Newer research has shed light that side to side differences can only be detected by manual muscle testing if strength is at a minimum less than 75% of the other side, meaning that ‼️ MMTs are a TEST OF WEAKNESS rather than a TEST OF STRENGTH‼️ Even so, MMTs still holds significant value in the scenarios listed above and should be in the repertoire of every practicing clinician.
Because muscles NEVER work in isolation, wouldn't it be important to assess if a PATTERN is weak? Rather than a specific muscle?
We sure think so, and that’s why we've fallen in love with the anterior and posterior oblique sling MMT shown in the video. It's particularly useful with athletes who most need the rotational strength and stability required in sports. Try it on your athletes and you'll be surprised at the HUGE side to side differences you may find. In many sports where one arm or leg is dominant like baseball pitchers, it may be expected that one pattern and sling is "stronger" than the other. However, in other sports while bilateral patterns are necessary and movement coordination/strength should be similar like in tennis, hockey, soccer, you would expect that each side performs similarly when tested.
Try it out with your athletes and let us know what you find! STAYED TUNED for tomorrow's post on an ANTERIOR OBLIQUE SLING EXERCISE PROGRESSION!! Tag a friend whose looking forward to tomorrow's post!
Side note: a hand-held dynamometer would be the cleanest way of assessing isolated muscle STRENGTH. If you know where we can get one, let us know!