The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test

The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test

Shoulder injuries are a common concern among athletes, impacting their performance and overall well-being. As part of the rehabilitation process, physiotherapists employ various assessment techniques to evaluate shoulder strength, stability, and function. One such valuable tool used at Donegal Physiotherapy and Performance Centre is the Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test. Developed by renowned physiotherapist Ben Ashworth, this test employs the use of our new VALD ForceDecks, which provide objective data on an athlete’s movement and muscle activation patterns during specific shoulder exercises.

During the Athletic Shoulder Test, the athletes will perform a series of strength tests where they will push into the plate, generating as much force as possible, in positions representing different planes of shoulder movement. The positions are as follows:

  • I Position: The athlete holds their arms straight out in front of them, creating
    the shape of the letter “I” with their body.
  • Y Position: Similar to the I exercise, but with the arms forming a “Y”.
  • T Position: The athlete extends their arms out to the sides, forming a “T” shape.
The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test

Using the ForceDecks, the IYT tests capture objective measurements of force production, providing valuable insights into an athlete’s shoulder strength, stability, and overall performance. This information is extremely useful for each of the following reasons:

  • Rehabilitation / Return to Sport testing: By providing objective data on movement patterns, muscle activation, and force exertion, this test empowers physiotherapists to design tailored treatment plans which are specific to an individual’s presenting deficits. Many sports, such as rugby, swimming and Gaelic football, require the shoulder girdle to cope with high forces, often at high-speeds, in unstable positions. The isometric nature of this test provides a safe method of testing strength, reactivity and stability in these long-lever positions, better informing the decision-making process of timely return to play.
  • Progress Tracking: The Athletic Shoulder Test is not a one-time evaluation tool but can be performed at regular intervals to monitor an athlete’s progress over time. Comparing subsequent test results enables physiotherapists to assess the effectiveness of treatment strategies and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Injury Prevention: As mentioned, shoulder injuries are common among athletes, particularly in sports involving overhead movements. The Athletic Shoulder Test can aid in identifying potential issues before they lead to injury, enabling early intervention and targeted rehabilitation to mitigate risks.
  • Performance Enhancement: By pinpointing areas of weakness or inefficiency, the Athletic Shoulder Test can aid the development of targeted exercise programs aimed at enhancing overall performance, not just in a rehabilatory sense. By using the Vald ForceDecks, results can be compared to populations of similar demographics (age and sport, for example), allowing athletes to see where they stand and where they should be aiming to be.

In a nutshell, the Athletic Shoulder Test by Ben Ashworth, utilising the Vald ForceDecks, offers a valuable tool for assessing and enhancing shoulder function in athletes. By providing objective data on movement patterns, muscle activation, and force exertion, this test empowers our physiotherapists to design tailored treatment plans, monitor progress, and prevent injuries. With the Athletic Shoulder Test, athletes can optimise their shoulder performance and elevate their game to new heights.

If you’re an athlete recovering from a shoulder injury, contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our chartered physiotherapists who can incorporate the Athletic Shoulder Test into your rehabilitation plan, ensuring an efficient and effective recovery process.