Manual Muscle Testing: Shoulder Abduction

Original Editor - Claire Knott

Top Contributors - Claire Knott, Nikhil Benhur Abburi and Wanda van Niekerk  

Muscles Involved:[edit | edit source]

Patient Positioning[edit | edit source]

  • Seated, shoulder positioned in the scapular plane 25 degrees anterior to frontal plane, thumb directed up
  • For Grades 0-2 there is no 'gravity minimal' position for this movement.

Therapist Position[edit | edit source]

  • Therapist is standing at test side
  • Palpation over shoulder abductors.

To Test[edit | edit source]

  • Patient actively abducts the shoulder[1]
  • For grades 4-5 therapist to provide resistance over distal humerus in the direction opposite to shoulder abduction in the scapular plane.
  • To satisfy grade 5 'normal muscle' performance criteria, the patient must have the ability to move through complete range of motion (active resistance testing) OR maintain an end point range (break testing) against maximum resistance.


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hislop H, Avers D, Brown M. Daniels and Worthingham's muscle Testing-E-Book: Techniques of manual examination and performance testing. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013 Sep 27.
  2. EducatedPT. Shoulder Abduction (in Scapular Plane) MMT. Available from: [last accessed 31/7/2021]