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Understanding Shoulder Joint Movements: Range of Motion and Muscles Involved

In this article we will discuss the movements of shoulder joint their ROMS, and muscles that perform those movements. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body, allowing a wide range of movements necessary for functional activities such as reaching, lifting, and carrying. To better understand the shoulder joint movements it is important to know about the anatomy of the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Joint movements

Following are the movements of shoulder there ROMs and muscles:


  • Flexion is performed by bringing the arm forward.
  • ROM of shoulder flexion is 180 degrees.
  • Deltoid ,supraspinatus ,biceps brachii are the muscles involves in flexion of shoulder.


  • While extension is perfomed by moving the arm backward.
  • The shoulder joint allows for approximately 60 degrees degrees extension.
  • Triceps, teres major, lattismus dorsi are the primary muscles of shoulder extension.


  • Abduction is the movement of lifting the arm away from the body.
  • The shoulder joint allows for approximately 180 degrees of abduction.
  • Deltoid, supraspinatus are the shoulder abduction muscles.


  • While adduction is the movement of bringing the arm back towards the body.
  • 180 to 0 degrees is the shoulder adduction ROM.
  • Pectoralis major, teres major, lattismus dorsi are the muscles which are responsible for shoulder adduction.

Internal rotation

  • The movement of rotating the arm inward is called internal rotation.
  • Medial rotation ROM is approximately 70 to 90 degrees.
  • Teres minor, teres major and subscapularis performs internal rotation.

External rotation

  • While external rotation is the movement of rotating the arm outward.
  • It allows for approximately 90 degrees of external rotation.
  • Teres minor, biceps brachii and infraspinatus are the muscles of shoulder responsible for external rotation.


  • Circumduction is the movement of the arm in a circular motion.
  • Shoulder joint allows for circumduction of approximately 360 degrees.
  • All the muscles of shoulder joint are involve in circumduction.

shoulder joints movement: ROMS and muscles involved


The shoulder joint is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of movements. Physiotherapists use their understanding of the functions and movements of the shoulder joint to help patients with a variety of shoulder conditions.

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