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Teres Major Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Teres Major Anatomy Study

Teres Major Anatomy Origin: Posterior aspect of the inferior angle of the scapula
Insertion: Medial lip of the intertubercular sulcus of the humerus
Action: Internal rotation (medial rotation) of the humerus
Innervation: Lower subscapular nerve (C5,6)
Blood Supply: Subscapular and posterior circumflex humeral arteries from the axillary artery
Synergist: Latissimus Dorsi and Subscapularis

Primary Actions of the Teres Major:

1. Internal rotation of the arm at the shoulder

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

2. Adduction of the arm at the shoulder

  • Agonists: Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major, Triceps Brachii (long head)
  • Antagonists: Deltoid (middle fibers), Supraspinatus


Secondary Actions of the Teres Major:

1. Assists with extension of the arm at the shoulder

  • Agonists: Deltoid (posterior fibers), Triceps Brachii (long head), Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major (sternal head)
  • Antagonists: Deltoid (anterior fibers), Biceps Brachii, Coracobrachialis, Pectoralis Major (clavicular head)

For Pain and Symptom Information See: Teres Major Muscle  Pain

Recommended Anatomy Books

coloring_book 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.

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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