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Continuing Education2 Credits

Upper Body Goniometric Assessment: Technique and potential restricting structures

Goniometry of the upper body, including shoulder flexion, extension, internal rotation, external rotation, and cervical spine goniometry. A list of potential muscles, fascia, and neural structures that may restrict motion at the shoulder and spine.

Course Description: Goniometry: Upper Body

Why Assessment? All fitness, performance, and rehabilitation programs should start with an assessment. The goal of assessment is to refine technique selection, with the intent of improving client and patient outcomes. This course describes the reliable goniometric assessments used to assess range of motion (ROM) of the upper extremity joints and cervical spine (Note, reliable = shoulder flexion goniometry is included, and shoulder abduction goniometry is not).

  • Goniometry - "refers to the measurement of angles, in particular, the measurement of angles created at human joints by the bones of the body (1)"

Why Goniometry? Most often, goniometric assessment highlights osteokinematic hypomobility (loss of joint ROM), aiding in the selection of release, mobilization, and stretching techniques. Less often, goniometry will highlight hypermobility (excessive joint ROM) and imply a need for activation, stabilization, and conditioning techniques. For an introduction to specific terminology, defining "good assessments," defining what goniometry measures, and best use, please check out:

Why Add Goniometry to Movement Assessment? Goniometry adds an assessment with continuous interval measures to movement assessments that only provide binary or discrete values. Assessments that only provide binary values include the Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA) , the latissimus dorsi muscle length test , the Functional Movement Screen, static postural assessments, the L.E.F.T. Test, and shoulder mobility-dependent special tests such as Apley's Scratch Test or the Supine Shoulder Impingement Test .

The Brookbush Institute recommends that these assessments are added to the repertoire of all sports medicine professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, etc.).

Goniometric Assessments Covered in this Course

Each goniometric assessment in this course includes a list of potentially affected structures, and those structures are hyperlinked to courses that cover specific interventions for those structures. Predictive Models of Postural Dysfunction were used to aid in considering all muscular, articular, fascial, and neural structures that may restrict each motion.

Printable PDF of the Movement Assessment Template:


Shoulder External Rotation

Shoulder Internal Rotation

Shoulder Flexion Goniometry

Shoulder Extension Goniometry

Cervical Lateral Flexion


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