The role of the biceps brachii in shoulder elevation

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Apr;18(2):270-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.09.012. Epub 2006 Dec 28.


The biceps brachii is a bi-articular muscle affecting motion at the shoulder and elbow. While its' action at the elbow is well documented, its role in shoulder elevation is less clear. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to investigate the influence of shoulder and elbow joint angles on the shoulder elevation function of the biceps brachii. Twelve males and 18 females were tested on a Biodex dynamometer with the biceps brachii muscle selectively stimulated at a standardized level of voltage. The results indicated that both shoulder and elbow joint angles influence the shoulder joint elevation moment produced by the biceps brachii. Further analysis revealed that the elevation moment was greatest with the shoulder joint at 0 degrees and the elbow flexed 30 degrees or less. The greatest reduction in the elevation moment occurred between shoulder angles of 0 degrees and 30 degrees . The shoulder elevation moment was near zero when shoulder elevation reached or exceeded 60 degrees regardless of elbow angle. These results clarify the role of the biceps in shoulder elevation, as a dynamic stabilizer, and suggest that it is a decelerator of the arm during the throwing motion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*