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Movements Of The Shoulder Joint

By Jayton Miller

The shoulder joint, also known as the glenohumeral joint, is a ball and socket joint that attaches the arm to the torso of the body. This complex joint is one of the most important joint of the upper body. Without properly working shoulder joints it becomes extremely difficult to function in day to day life. Knowing anatomy of the joint and how it works can allow you to more effectively keep this joint healthy for the rest of your life. Let’s dive into it...


General Function Of The Shoulder Joint:

General Function Of The Shoulder Joint

The main function of the shoulder joint is to attach the arm to the rest of the body while allowing it to have a wide range of motion. Without the structure of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder your arms would be nowhere near as functional as they currently are.

The main bones that make up the shoulder joint are:

  • humerus (specifically the head of the humerus)
  • acromion - a projection from the scapula that ligaments attach to
  • coracoid process - attaches to ligaments that help keep the shoulder stable
  • clavicle (collar bone)
  • scapula (shoulder blade)

The bones of the shoulder are extremely important for the proper structure of the shoulder. The scapula and the head of the humerus have to fit perfectly together in order for this joint to function. Another crucial part of the shoulder joint are the ligaments and tendons. These provide support to keep the bones in the proper place inside of and around the joint.

The main ligaments and tendons of the shoulder are:

  • glenohumeral ligaments - three ligaments that support the front of the joint
  • coracohumeral ligament - supports the top of the joint
  • coraco-acromial ligament - helps support the top of the joint
  • coraco-clavicular ligament - goes between clavicle and coracoid process
  • transverse humeral ligaments - attaches the two heads of the humerus together.
  • subscapularis tendon - attaches the subscapularis muscle

These tendons and ligaments bring the joint together in a tight knit fashion making it stronger and more resilient to potential damage. They also help create the structure as they attach the different bones together throughout the joint.

Read More: Movement Is Medicine | A Guide To Moving Better

Common Challenges Faced With Shoulder Joints:

Common Challenges With The Shoulder Joint

The shoulder joint takes a lot of wear and tear in people’s lives, especially when you are active. Some of the most common ailments that happen with the shoulder joint are:

  • Dislocated Shoulders - The shoulder joint is the most common joint in the body that gets dislocated. This can lead to torn ligaments and tendons that will take up to a year to fully recover.
  • Torn Rotator Cuffs - The rotators cuff is most commonly injured in sports, this happens due to sudden jerking movements of heavy loads, or falling on an outstretched arm.

Read More: 14 Hacks To Eliminate Inflammation Naturally

How To Keep Healthy Shoulder Joints:

How To Keep The Shoulder Joints Health

Keeping healthy should joints is a must if you want to remain even remotely capable as a human being. Injuries to the shoulder joints are crippling and surprisingly affect 4 million people in the U.S. alone EVERY YEAR!

In general having a healthy diet and remaining active is going to play a huge role in the health of your shoulders. Taking steps to strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder is another crucial piece to the puzzle.

Here are 5 exercises that you can do to keep your shoulder joints healthy:

  • Arch Up - This one has several exercises layered into one since you don’t have to move anything but the angle of your arms. Lying face down on the floor making sure that your lower back is not over arched, reach your arms over head and with your thumbs facing the ceiling simply lift them as high as you can and then go back down. After doing that for about 10 reps, move your arms straight out to the side like you are making a t with your body and with your thumbs up reach as high as you can and then go back down in a controlled fashion.
  • Swimmers - Lie in a prone position and extend your arms up overhead as high as possible. Next, rotate your arms down around your body in a circle until they reach your hips and relax your arms on the ground. Lastly, rotate your arms back up towards your head while keeping them as high as possible.
  • Banded External Rotations - Lay down on the ground with a band attached around your feet and grab the band with one hand. Starting with your arm bent at 90 degrees facing up in the air rotate your arm backwards towards the ground.
  • Banded Internal Rotations - Lay down on the ground with a band attached around your hand and grab the band with one hand. Starting with your arm bent at 90 degrees facing up in the air rotate your arm down towards the ground.
  • Banded Face Pulls - Place a band at about face height and grab the band with both hands. Pull your arms as far back as possible as you bend your arms into a W-shape.


If you're looking to keep your shoulders healthy and improve your shoulder mobility look no further than UMZUfit! UMZUfit contains exercise programs designed for anyone of any age to be able to perform in order to lose weight, gain muscle or age better! Click here to join UMZUfit today!


The shoulder joint is one of the most commonly injured joints in the human body, especially for active people. Knowing the anatomy of the shoulder, how it works, and ways to strengthen it is going to make a huge difference in your ability to keep them healthy your entire life.


  • Abrahams, Peter. The Human Body: An Essential Guide To How The Body Works. Amber Books Ltd, 2021.