Movements of the scapula:

The scapula is able to slide freely over the chest wall because of the loose connective tissue between serratus anterior and that wall.All the movements occur around the sternoclavicular joint with minor adjustments at the acromioclavicular joint.



Occasion (Situation)



Shrugging shoulders

  • Upper fibres of trapezius
  • Levator scapulae


Dropping shoulders (“at ease”).

  • Lower fibres of pectoralis major
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Pectoralis minor

  • Reaching forwards
  • Punching
  • Pushing
  • Serratus anterior
  • Pectoralis minor


Drawing back the shoulders (“atten…tion”)

  • Middle fibres of trapezius
  • Rhomboid major
  • Rhomboid minor

Medial rotation:

Assist to draw the shoulders back.

  • Levator scapulae
  • Rhomboid major and minor.
  • Weight of the upper limb.

Lateral rotation:
During shoulder abduction.
  • Upper fibres of trapezius.
  • Lower fibres of trapezius.
  • Lower part of serratus anterior.


Home | Project Anatomy | Gross Anatomy | Topic Index | Chapter 13

CHAPTER 13: Back and Scapula Region