KinX Learning

Digital Products in the Kinesiology of Exercise


Major Muscles and Actions Involved


In the shoulder girdle the rhomboid and pectoralis minor are the major muscles involved in downward rotation of the scapulae. This occurs to enable the downward (toward the body) action of the arms. In this, the right scapula rotates clockwise and the left counterclockwise when viewed from the rear. 

There is also depression of the scapulae to reverse the elevation that occurs during the raising of the arms up and over the head. The major muscles involved in scapulae depression are the pectoralis minor and lower trapezius. 

Sports Uses 

The act of pulling your arms from an overhead position toward your upper body (or raising your body with your arms when your hands are secured in one place, as in chinning) is extremely important in gymnastics (rings, horizontal bar, uneven bars, and parallel bars). In addition, the movement used in the pullover is very important in all overhead forward throwing actions involving both arms (basketball, soccer throw-ins, medicine ball throwing), pulling down rebounds in basketball, the hit and follow-through phase in high volleyball spiking, hand balancing (tandem), and in all pulling-up actions (rope climbing, pull-ups).

Did you know...

  • In order to get maximum benefit from the pullover exercise, you must concentrate on pulling with your shoulder joint muscles, not your arm muscles. If you do the exercise with your elbows bent, which is very common among bodybuilders, you may find yourself doing elbow joint extension in combination with shoulder extension to raise the dumbbell.