The Bones and Muscles of the Shoulder

Today’s lesson introduces you to the intricacies of the shoulder. It’s good to know – so read a little further. The shoulder consists of three main bones. The clavicle, the humerus, and the scapula. These three bones really do make the shoulder a true ball and socket joint. It has some of the greatest mobility of any of the joints. The shoulder rotates, flexes and extends. It is this wide variety of planes, however, that make it so susceptible to injuries. The end of the humerus attaches into where the clavicle and scapula meet and to form what is known as the glenohumeral joint. This is the shoulder joint. 

The muscles of the shoulder are somewhat similar to that of the quad. We know the quad simply as that but as we discussed last week; the quad is actually a group of four different muscles. A fifth was actually just discovered a few years ago, but that’s neither here nor there (just a fun fact you can share at your next party). The shoulder is similar in the sense that we refer to all the muscles of it in one encapsulating fashion known as the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is actually a group that consists of a subset of a myriad of different muscles. 

That subset includes the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the teres minor and the subscapularis. The main function of all of these muscles is to stabilize the glenohumeral joint. That is they are responsible for internal and external rotation, as well as ensuring the joint is capable of maintaining integrity when reaching certain end ranges. 

The easiest shoulder muscle to identify and the one people chase the most in terms of figure is the deltoid. The most important thing to know about the deltoid is that it is responsible in part for raising the arm or moving it away from the body. 

The last major muscle of importance when it comes to the shoulder is the serratus anterior. This muscle essentially lines the ribs and attaches to the scapula. This muscle is not easy to activate and it should play a vital role in helping raise the arm/move it away from the body. If it doesn’t, you could run into some shoulder pain. 

The real issue with the shoulder is that it attaches into the major muscle groups of the back. The trapezius, the rhomboids, the lats. We rely HEAVILY on these muscles to move the shoulder when we need to focus more on using those small muscles that are actually in the shoulder. This is why it is important to relax the lats and activate those small muscle groups post-workout.

It’s important for you and for us that you are using your shoulders the correct and most useful way. We’re playing the long game, after all.


To learn more about how to get the most out of your shoulders, improve your shoulder movement and health, and to get them strong and mighty, schedule a time to chat with us. 

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