Preprint / Version 2

Are the shoulder joint function, stability, and mobility tests predictive of handstand execution?


  • Roman Malíř Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University
  • Jan Chrudimský Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University
  • Adam Provazník Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University
  • Vít Třebický Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University



gymnastics, upper extremity, quality of movement, physical education, Y balance test, range of motion


Handstand is a basic element common across gymnastic disciplines and physical education classes that is frequently evaluated for quality in competition or skill acquisition. The correct handstand execution relies on maintaining balance, for which the shoulders seem particularly important. This study explores the relationship between shoulder joint function and the quality of handstand execution in novice college athletes (n = 111; aged 19 - 23 years). We assessed the shoulder joint function using standardized field tests (Upper Quarter Y Balance Test and Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability Test) and evaluated handstand execution on official rating scales.

Ordinal logistic regression models showed no relationship between the quality of handstand execution (AQV and E-score) and measures of shoulder joint stability or mobility in our sample (POR = 1.06 [0.98, 1.14] and 0.99 [0.89, 1.09] for AQV and POR = 0.97 [0.91, 1.03] and 1.00 [0.91, 1.09] for E-score).

Two major factors may have caused an observed pattern of results. Firstly, the standardized tests assess shoulder joints in different loads and ranges of motion compared to handstands, secondly, our novice sample were not able to perform the handstand sufficiently well. In our sample of novice college athletes, shoulder function seems not related to handstand execution as other latent factors hindered their performance.


Metrics Loading ...


Kerwin D. G., Trewartha G. Strategies for maintaining a handstand in the anterior-posterior direction. / Strategies pour maintenir l ’ appui tendu renverse dans la direction antero-posterieure. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2001;33: 1182–1188.

Mizutori H, Kashiwagi Y, Hakamada N, Tachibana Y, Funato K. Kinematics and joints moments profile during straight arm press to handstand in male gymnasts. Masani K, editor. PLoS ONE. 2021;16: e0253951. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0253951

Sobera M, Serafin R, Rutkowska-Kucharska A. Stabilometric profile of handstand technique in male gymnasts. Acta of Bioengineering and Biomechanics; 01/2019; ISSN 1509-409X. 2019 [cited 1 Nov 2022]. doi:10.5277/ABB-01267-2018-02

Uzunov V. The Handstand: A Four Stage Training Model. Gym Coach. 2008;2008: 52–59. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.2985.1363

Hedbávný P, Sklenaříková J, Hupka D, Kalichová M. Balancing in handstand on the floor. Science of Gymnastics Journal. 2013;5: 69–79.

Kochanowicz A, Kochanowicz K, Niespodzinski B, Mieszkowski J, Biskup L. The level of body balance in a handstand and the effectiveness of sports training in gymnastics. BJHPA. 2015;7: 117–124. doi:10.29359/BJHPA.07.4.11

Tidén A, Lundqvist C, Nyberg M. Development and Initial Validation of the NyTid Test: A Movement Assessment Tool for Compulsory School Pupils. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science. 2015;19: 34–43. doi:10.1080/1091367X.2014.975228

Kojima M, Kinomura Y, Kuzuhara K. Development of observational indicators for evaluating handstand posture in the mat exercise in physical education class: validity and reliability. Journal of Physical Education and Sport. 2021;21: 2087–2096. doi:10.7752/jpes.2021.s3266

Maleki F, Nia P, Zarghami M, Neisi A. The Comparison of Different Types of Observational Training on Motor Learning of Gymnastic Handstand. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2010;26: 13–19. doi:10.2478/v10078-010-0043-0

Masser LS. Critical Cues Help First-Grade Students’ Achievement in Handstands and Forward Rolls. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 1993;12: 301–312. doi:10.1123/jtpe.12.3.301

Coelho J. Gymnastics and movement instruction: Fighting the decline in motor fitness. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. 2010;81: 14–18.

Pajek MB, Čuk I, Kovač M, Jakše B. Implementation of the Gymnastics Curriculum in the Third Cycle of Basic School in Slovenia. / Realizacija Gimnastičnih Vsebin V Tretjem Triletju Osnovne Šole V Sloveniji. Science of Gymnastics Journal. 2010;2: 15–27. Available:

Robinson DB, Randall L, Andrews E. Physical education teachers’ (lack of) gymnastics instruction: an exploration of a neglected curriculum requirement. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education. 2020;11: 67–82. doi:10.1080/25742981.2020.1715232

Rudd JR, Barnett LM, Farrow D, Berry J, Borkoles E, Polman R. The Impact of Gymnastics on Children’s Physical Self-Concept and Movement Skill Development in Primary Schools. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science. 2017;21: 92–100. doi:10.1080/1091367X.2016.1273225

Werner PH, Williams LH, Hall TJ. Teaching Children Gymnastics. Human Kinetics; 2012. doi:10.5040/9781718208988

Ashford D, Bennett SJ, Davids K. Observational modeling effects for movement dynamics and movement outcome measures across differing task constraints: a meta-analysis. J Mot Behav. 2006;38: 185–205. doi:10.3200/JMBR.38.3.185-205

Fink H, Hofmann D, Scholtz D. Age Group Development and Competition Program for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. 2021b; 123 pages.

Kovač M. Assessment of Gymnastic Skills at Physical Education - The Case of Backward Roll. Science of gymnastics journal. 2012;4.

Fink H, López LO, Hofmann D. Age Group Development and Competition Program for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. 2021a; 127 pages.

International Gymnastics Federation. 2022-2024 Code of points: men’s artistic gymnastics. 2022 [cited 2 Dec 2022]. Available:

Pryhoda M, Newell K, Irwin G. Handstand balance motor control mechanisms. ISBS Proceedings Archive. 2021;39: 212. Available:

Wyatt HE, Gittoes MJR, Irwin G. Sport-specific musculoskeletal growth and postural control in female artistic gymnasts: a 12 month cohort study. Sports Biomech. 2020;19: 258–270. doi:10.1080/14763141.2018.1469662

Gautier G, Marin L, Leroy D, Thouvarecq R. Dynamics of expertise level: Coordination in handstand. Human Movement Science. 2009;28: 129–140. doi:10.1016/j.humov.2008.05.003

Krištofič J, Maly T, Zahálka F. The effect of intervention balance program on postural stability. Science of Gymnastics Journal. 2018;10: 17–28.

Omorczyk J, Bujas P, Puszczałowska-Lizis E, Biskup L. Balance in handstand and postural stability in standing position in athletes practicing gymnastics. Acta of Bioengineering and Biomechanics; 02/2018; ISSN 1509-409X. 2018 [cited 1 Nov 2022]. doi:10.5277/ABB-01110-2018-02

Shumway-Cook A, Woollacott MH. Motor control: translating research into clinical practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012.

Blenkinsop GM, Pain MTG, Hiley MJ. Balance control strategies during perturbed and unperturbed balance in standing and handstand. R Soc open sci. 2017;4: 161018. doi:10.1098/rsos.161018

Kochanowicz A, Niespodziński B, Mieszkowski J, Marina M, Kochanowicz K, Zasada M. Changes in the Muscle Activity of Gymnasts During a Handstand on Various Apparatus. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2019;33: 1609–1618. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002124

Slobounov SM, Newell KM. Postural Dynamics in Upright and Inverted Stances. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 1996;12: 185–196. Available:

Yeadon MR, Trewartha G. Control Strategy for a Hand Balance. Motor Control. 2003;7: 421–442. doi:10.1123/mcj.7.4.421

Prassas SG, Kelley DL, Pike NL. Shoulder joint torques and the straight arm/flexed hips press handstand on the parallel bars. ISBS-Conference Proceedings Archive. 1986.

Rohleder J, Vogt T. Teaching novices the handstand: A practical approach of different sport-specific feedback concepts on movement learning. Science of Gymnastics Journal. 2018;10: 29–42. Available:

Veeger HEJ, van der Helm FCT. Shoulder function: The perfect compromise between mobility and stability. Journal of Biomechanics. 2007;40: 2119–2129. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.10.016

Beyranvand R, Mirnasouri R, Mollahoseini S, Mostofi S. The functional stability of the upper limbs in healthy and rounded shoulder gymnasts. Science of Gymnastics Journal. 2017;9: 279–290. Available: URN:NBN:SI:DOC-AQ3O8YVK from

Borsa PA, Laudner KG, Sauers EL. Mobility and Stability Adaptations in the Shoulder of the Overhead Athlete. Sports Med. 2008;38: 17–36. doi:10.2165/00007256-200838010-00003

Hill L, Collins M, Posthumus M. Risk factors for shoulder pain and injury in swimmers: A critical systematic review. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 2015;43: 412–420. doi:10.1080/00913847.2015.1077097

Nuhmani S. Correlation between Core Stability and Upper-Extremity Performance in Male Collegiate Athletes. Medicina. 2022;58: 982. doi:10.3390/medicina58080982

Zarei M, Eshghi S, Hosseinzadeh M. The effect of a shoulder injury prevention programme on proprioception and dynamic stability of young volleyball players; a randomized controlled trial. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2021;13: 71. doi:10.1186/s13102-021-00300-5

Gorman PP, Butler RJ, Plisky PJ, Kiesel KB. Upper Quarter Y Balance Test: reliability and performance comparison between genders in active adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26: 3043–3048. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182472fdb

De Oliveira VMA, Pitangui ACR, Nascimento VYS, da Silva HA, dos Passos MHP, de Araújo RC. Test-retest reliability of the closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test (CKCUEST) in adolescents. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12: 125–132. Available:

Cook G. Movement: functional movement systems: screening, assessment, and corrective strategies. Aptos, CA: On Target Publications; 2010.

Tucci HT, Martins J, Sposito G de C, Camarini PMF, de Oliveira AS. Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability test (CKCUES test): a reliability study in persons with and without shoulder impingement syndrome. BMC musculoskeletal disorders. 2014;15: 1–9. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-1

R Core Team. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.; 2022. Available:

RStudio Team. RStudio: Integrated Development Environment for R. RStudio, PBC, Boston, MA; 2022. Available:

Mangiafico S. _rcompanion: Functions to Support Extension Education Program Evaluation_. R package version 2.4.18. 2022. Available:

Fox J, Weisberg S, Price B, Adler D, Bates D, Baud-Bovy G, et al. car: Companion to Applied Regression. 2022. Available:

Akinwande MO, Dikko HG, Samson A. Variance Inflation Factor: As a Condition for the Inclusion of Suppressor Variable(s) in Regression Analysis. Open Journal of Statistics. 2015;05: 754. doi:10.4236/ojs.2015.57075

Miles J. Tolerance and Variance Inflation Factor. Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2014. doi:10.1002/9781118445112.stat06593

Ripley B, Venables B, Bates DM, ca 1998) KH (partial port, ca 1998) AG (partial port, Firth D. MASS: Support Functions and Datasets for Venables and Ripley’s MASS. 2022. Available:

Lüdecke D, Makowski D, Ben-Shachar MS, Patil I, Waggoner P, Wiernik BM, et al. performance: Assessment of Regression Models Performance. 2022. Available:

Schlegel B, Steenbergen M. brant: Test for Parallel Regression Assumption. 2022; 3. Available:

Westrick RB, Miller JM, Carow SD, Gerber JP. Exploration of the Y-Balance Test for Assessment of Upper Quarter Closed Kinetic Chain Performance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012;7: 139–147. Available:

Taylor JB, Wright AA, Smoliga JM, DePew JT, Hegedus EJ. Upper-Extremity Physical-Performance Tests in College Athletes. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2016;25: 146–154. doi:10.1123/jsr.2014-0296

Mkaouer B, Hammoudi-Nassib S, Amara S, Chaabène H. Evaluating the physical and basic gymnastics skills assessment for talent identification in men’s artistic gymnastics proposed by the International Gymnastics. bs. 2018;35: 383–392. doi:10.5114/biolsport.2018.78059

Vernetta M, Peláez-Barrios EM, López-Bedoya J. Systematic review of flexibility tests in gymnastics. jhse. 2020;17. doi:10.14198/jhse.2022.171.07

Wattanaprakornkul D, Halaki M, Boettcher C, Cathers I, Ginn KA. A comprehensive analysis of muscle recruitment patterns during shoulder flexion: An electromyographic study. Clin Anat. 2011;24: 619–626. doi:10.1002/ca.21123

Schwiertz G, Beurskens R, Muehlbauer T. Discriminative validity of the lower and upper quarter Y balance test performance: a comparison between healthy trained and untrained youth. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2020;12: 73. doi:10.1186/s13102-020-00220-w



2023-02-22 — Updated on 2023-09-12