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Subscapularis Muscle Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Subscapularis Muscle Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Subscapularis Muscle
Origin: Medial two-thirds of  volar surface of the scapula
Insertion: Lesser tubercle of humerus
Action: Internally rotates humerus; Assists with depression of the humeral head
Innervation: Upper and Lower Subscapular Nerve (C5,6)
Blood Supply: Subscapular artery from the axillary artery

Synergist: Teres major, Latissimus dorsi, and Pectoralis major

Antagonist: Infraspinatus, Teres minor

For Pain and Symptom Information See: Subscapularis Muscle Shoulder Arm Pain Frozen Shoulder 


Primary Actions of the Subscapularis Muscle:

1. Internal rotation of the arm at the shoulder

  • Agonists: Deltoid (anterior fibers), Pectoralis Major, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major,
  • Antagonists: Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Deltoid (posterior fibers)

Secondary Actions of the Subscapularis Muscle:

2. Assists with depression of the humeral head

  • Agonists: Infraspinatus, Teres Minor

Recommended Anatomy Books

The Anatomy Coloring Book is one of the best study and reference books for beginning anatomy students. The diagrams are clearly labeled and allow you to see the relationship and placement of the various structures of the body. You will also be surprised how the act of coloring will help with recall. But this is not just a beginners book, it is also great for practitioners and therapists to have on hand to use with clients and patients to use as a visual reference.

Out of the scores of books in my office Basic Clinical Massage Therapy is by far the most referenced book in my library. The musculoskeletal system is overlaid on human models allowing you to learn the precise location, origin and insertions of each muscle. The models are pictured in various poses throughout the book which also helps you visualize muscles in motion and their actions relationship with the skeletal structure and other muscles. Though it is written for massage therapists, it is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the muscular system. MT’s will benefit from recommended treatments for each muscle.

Trail Guide To The Body


The Trail Guide To The Body is another excellent book to help you learn the musculature of the human body. Though the book is geared toward massage therapists and physical therapist assistants, the book with its illustrations and text helps anyone gain a thorough understanding of the human musculoskeletal system and movement. I highly recommend this book for anyone studying anatomy and believe that MTs, PTAs, and teachers of body movements should have this book in their possession. I also highly recommend this book for the lay person who wants to gain understanding of the muscle, skeletal system and how our bodies move. This book will not disappoint!



The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando

Massage Therapy Principles and Practice – Susan Salvo

Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage – Mark Beck

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