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Clinical observations of the athletic shoulder and its associated common injuries have demonstrated selective weakness of specific rotator cuff muscles rather than generalized muscle impairment. Shoulder mechanics during athletic activities have been evaluated dynamically with electromyography (EMG), which has helped to formulate a base for optimal rehabilitation. Dynamic EMG and high-speed film analysis have been used to evaluate overhead activities in the athlete's shoulder during various sports. Evaluation of shoulder function in these various sports revealed that although rotator cuff function is important in each sport, the emphasis and role of individual muscles vary. The importance of serratus anterior muscle activity to stabilization and protraction of the scapula has been consistently reported. The muscles about the shoulder act according to their mechanical attributes and are both functional and sport-specific. A thorough understanding of the mechanics of the normal and the injured shoulder constitutes the foundation for training and rehabilitation strategies.