Publication Date



Objectives: Investigate reliability of shoulder internal and external rotation (IR, ER), abduction in internal rotation (ABIR) and combined elevation (CE) range of motion tests in competitive swimmers.

Design: Within participants, inter- and intra-examiner reliability.

Setting: Physiotherapy Department, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: 17 competitive swimmers (aged 12-24 years) who participate in at least 5 weekly swimming sessions and two physiotherapy examiners.

Main outcome measures: Inter- and intra-examiner reliability of IR, ER, ABIR and CE.

Results: Good to excellent intra-examiner reliability across tests (ICCs: 0.85-0.96) with standard error of measurement (SEM)and minimal detectable change at 90% confidence interval (MDC90) ranging from 2-5, and 5-12 degrees, respectively. Good to excellent inter-examiner reliability for all tests (ICCs: 0.77-0.94) except left IR (ICC: 0.65). Interexaminer SEM and MDC90 ranged from 2-5 degrees and 5-12 degrees, respectively.

Conclusion: Shoulder range of motion tests were reliable when applied by the same examiner. Interexaminer reliability was acceptable for all tests except IR, which was affected by inconsistent manual scapula stabilisation between examiners.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access