Manual Muscle Testing: Shoulder Extension

Original Editor - Claire Knott

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

Muscles Involved:[edit | edit source]

Patient Positioning[edit | edit source]

  • Patient is in prone with elbow extended with arm free to move, palm directed up in direction of internal rotation
  • For grades 0-2 patient is in side lying ('gravity minimal' position) +/- low friction board

Therapist Position[edit | edit source]

  • Therapist stands on test-side
  • Palpation over shoulder extensors

To Test[edit | edit source]

  • Patient actively extends the shoulder through available range
  • For grades 4 to 5 apply resistance over posterior surface of distal humerus in a direction opposite to extension[1]
  • 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 Extension MMT. Available from:[last accessed 31/7/2021]